Why does Ferdinand lament his state in The Tempest?

Ferdinand laments his state because he thinks, mistakenly, that his father has been killed. While crying over the loss of his father, Ferdinand listens to the enchanting melody of Ariel's sweet music, which not only calms him down but leads him to Miranda.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the wake of the shipwreck caused by the powerful storm that Prospero conjured up, Ferdinand is utterly grief-stricken. He believes that his father, Alonso, the King of Naples, has been killed in the shipwreck and loudly laments his fate. As it turns out, Alonso is not dead. Ironically, he...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In the wake of the shipwreck caused by the powerful storm that Prospero conjured up, Ferdinand is utterly grief-stricken. He believes that his father, Alonso, the King of Naples, has been killed in the shipwreck and loudly laments his fate. As it turns out, Alonso is not dead. Ironically, he thinks that Ferdinand was killed in the shipwreck, which causes him no little grief.

As for Ferdinand, he sits on the shore crying over what he wrongly believes is the death of his father. As he does so, he hears the sound of strange, ethereal music that creeps over the waves and soothes his grief-stricken soul.

The sublime music is coming from Ariel, Prospero's servant sprite. In his song, he sings that Alonso lies five fathoms underwater—about thirty feet deep—and that his bones have turned to coral and his eyes to pearls. He's changed so much that he's become "something rich and strange" and that "Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell."

Once Ferdinand hears the song, he knows that it could not be sung by mere mortals. There is something about it that is clearly not of this world. In due course, the song will lead him to Miranda, whom he initially mistakes for a goddess.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on