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Act I, Scene 1 Summary

The Tempest begins with the storm at sea that gives the play its title. Amid thunder, lightning, and high waves, the captain (referred to as the "master") endeavors to keep the ship from running around. He shouts orders to the boatswain, who in turn shouts orders to the crew to adjust the sails—in hopes of surviving the storm. The ship is carrying royal and noble passengers and their staff: Alonso, the king of Naples; Sebastian, his brother; Antonio, the duke of Milan; and Gonzalo, Alonso's councilor. They come on deck to see what is happening and argue with the boatswain over the crew's efforts.

Alonso and Antonio voice their concerns that they do not see the master, implying the crew is not trying hard enough to save the ship. Taking offense, the boatswain orders them back into their cabins, as their presence is impeding the crew. He reminds them that their authority does not apply at sea, where the "roarers" (or powerful waves) obey no king's orders. Gonzalo expresses confidence that the boatswain is unlikely to drown—because the way he treats noblemen is likely to get him hanged—and they might be safe if this is his fate. He...

(The entire section is 407 words.)