The Tempest Act III, Scene 1
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene 1 Summary

Act 3, scene 1, begins with Ferdinand stacking logs, a task that Prospero has appointed him to perform. While doing so, he thinks of Miranda, who then appears and implores him to take a break. The two sweethearts do not know that Prospero is lurking nearby. She tells Ferdinand that he can pause in his labors, but he is worried that it will get dark before he finishes with the logs. Miranda then proposes that she can carry on the task while he rests. Ferdinand wholeheartedly rejects this notion: he states that if he rested while she worked, it would be dishonorable. Overhearing this exchange, Prospero remarks on the disease that is love.

Up until this point, Ferdinand had not known Miranda's name. Despite the fact that Prospero cautioned her not to reveal it, when Ferdinand asks what her name is (saying that he might use it in prayer), she tells him. Ferdinand praises her perfection, which he says is unparalleled by the attributes of all other women. Miranda then explains her solitary existence: living only with her father and knowing no other women.

She states that, if she were to marry Ferdinand, she would have no dowry save her "modesty" (virginity). Ferdinand reveals that he is a prince—perhaps even a king, as he worries that his father may be dead. Confessing his devotion, he tells Miranda that she is the reason he is creating the woodpile, and he shouts his declaration of love to the whole world and the heavens. She then cries, assuring him that her tears are of happiness.

From his hiding place, Prospero seeks the heavens' blessing for their love. Ferdinand and Miranda continue their loving declarations. She insists that she is unworthy of his love and tells him that she wishes to know if he will take her for a wife; she swears that she will serve him for the rest of her life if he does not. The young prince takes her hand and declares that she has his heart, and he pledges to marry her. They bid each other farewell and, exiting, agree to meet up again in half an hour.

After they exit, Prospero is alone on stage. He is exuberant that his plan has succeeded and that Miranda will soon marry the young prince. He exits to return to his books.