Act IV, Scene 1 Summary
Prospero is in conversation with Ferdinand and Miranda. Here, Prospero admits that his antagonism toward Ferdinand was a means of testing Ferdinand's love for Miranda, and he informs Ferdinand that he has passed that test. He then states that he will allow Ferdinand to marry his daughter, though he warns Ferdinand against dishonoring her before their wedding.
Having given his blessing for their union, Prospero then bids Ariel to prepare a gift for the couple. Spirits, conjured by Ariel, then arrive in the form of goddesses—Iris, Ceres, and Juno—who are all associated with marriage and motherhood. These spirits offer blessings for the union between Ferdinand and Miranda. Ferdinand is enchanted by this display of magic and even requests to stay on Prospero's island, considering it a paradise. Prospero's display continues as the goddesses summon nymphs and reapers, who start dancing.
But as Prospero suddenly recalls Caliban's plot to overthrow him, the magic dissolves. In this moment, he appears to be overtaken by a kind of infirmity. He tells Ferdinand that these celebrations have ended and that the magic that created them has dissolved away. He complains of being "vex'd" and explains that his "old brain is troubled." He then asks his guests to return to his cell and leave him for the time being, as he tries to calm his troubled mind.
Prospero summons Ariel back to him in order to prepare for the confrontation with Caliban. Ariel reports that when he encountered the heavily inebriated group, he placed them under an enchantment and brought them into a "filthy mantled pool beyond your cell." Prospero gives Ariel further instructions, aiming to set a...
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