The Tempest Quotes in Context
by William Shakespeare

The Tempest book cover
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"A Very Ancient And Fish-like Smell"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Trinculo, a jester, one of several survivors of a shipwreck, comes upon Caliban, a deformed and beastlike creature who is a slave to Prospero, a magician and the rightful Duke of Milan, who has been living with his daughter Miranda on the island to which the survivors of the shipwreck have come. Believing Trinculo to be one of Prospero's captive spirits, Caliban attempts to hide, but Trinculo sees him and thinks that in England he could make his fortune exhibiting such a monster:

TRINCULO. . .What have we here? A man, or a fish? Dead or alive? A fish: he smells like a fish. A very ancient and fish-like smell. A kind of, not of the newest, Poor-John. A strange fish. Were I in England now, as once I was, and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver. There would this monster make a man. Any strange beast there makes a man. When they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.. . .

"Full Fathom Five"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Duke Prospero of Milan, his throne usurped by his evil brother Antonio, lives in exile on an island with his daughter Miranda and with a spirit, Ariel, and a savage, Caliban, enthralled by his powers as a sorcerer. At Prospero's behest Ariel causes a storm in which the passengers and crew of a ship, Antonio and other noblemen of Milan and Naples, are cast into the sea and then are allowed to reach Prospero's island safely. Disguised as a water nymph, Ariel, singing, bewitches young Prince Ferdinand, bringing him to Prospero and Miranda. Ariel's words–"Full fathom five thy father lies"–Ferdinand construes to mean that his father has drowned. One stanza of Ariel's song goes:

ARIEL sings.Full fathom five thy father lies,Of his bones are coral made.Those are pearls that were his eyes,Nothing of him that doth fadeBut doth suffer a sea-changeInto something rich and strange.Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:[Burden within. Ding-dong.]Hark, now I hear them–Ding-dong bell.

"He That Dies Pays All Debts"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: During a great tempest a ship is driven onto a mysterious island. Everyone aboard survives, but all become separated, and individuals and groups wander about the island. They are unaware that everything, including the storm itself, is controlled by Prospero, a magician, who rules the island. Stephano, a drunken butler, and Trinculo, a jester, stumble individually into Caliban, a brutish monster, offspring of a witch, who is a servant of Prospero. Caliban, given liquor by Stephano, swears himself his subject and kisses his feet. The three then plot to kill Prospero and seize the island. Stephano is to be king and Miranda, Prospero's daughter, his queen-consort. But Ariel, a sprite of the air working for Prospero, overhears the plot and before reporting it to his master, has sport with the grotesque trio by invisibly playing a tune on a tabor and pipe.

TRINCULOThis is the tune of our catch, played by the picture of Nobody.STEPHANOIf thou beest a man, show thyself in thy likeness.If thou beest a devil, take't as thou list.TRINCULOO forgive me my sins.STEPHANOHe that dies pays all debts. I defy thee. Mercy upon us!

"Here's My Hand"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Prospero, a magician, rules a mysterious island, commanding spirits of the air, including Ariel, and a strange monster, offspring of a witch, named Caliban. Prospero has a daughter, Miranda. Twelve years earlier, Prospero had been Duke of Milan, but had lost his dukedom to an unscrupulous, usurping brother. Now, through his powers of necromancy, he has caused a tempest which drives a ship onto his island. On the ship are his usurping brother, the King of Naples and his son, Ferdinand. Prospero has Ferdinand led to him and Miranda by means of Ariel's magical singing. Ferdinand comes, sees Miranda, and falls in love with her. Miranda, never having seen a man, other than her father, thinks he is a spirit, but assured by her father that Ferdinand is a man, she, too, falls in love.

MIRANDAMy husband then?FERDINANDAy, with a heart as willingAs bondage e'er of freedom....

(The entire section is 2,576 words.)