Download The Tempest Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Act II, Scene 2 Summary

Caliban carries a pile of wood onto the stage and mutters curses aimed at Prospero. He says that he hopes Prospero will be infected with "All the infections that the sun sucks up / From bogs, fens, flats," and he complains that Prospero sends spirits to torment Caliban for "every trifle." He says that sometimes these spirits take the form of porcupines which prick his feet as he walks or snakes which "hiss [him] into madness."

At this point, Trinculo enters the scene, looking for somewhere to shelter from the coming storm. He sees Caliban but is confused as to what kind of creature Caliban might be. He speculates that Caliban might be a "man or a fish" and comments that he emits "a very ancient and fish-like smell." He thinks about capturing Caliban and taking him back to England, where he might display him in a freak show and charge people to come and look at him. However, hearing a sudden peal of thunder, Trinculo decides that his best option is to take shelter under Caliban's cloak.

At this point, Stephano enters, singing and drunk. He stumbles upon Caliban and Trinculo under Trinculo's cloak and imagines that he is looking upon "some monster of the isle with four legs." Stephano has a similar thought...

(The entire section is 416 words.)