Act I, Scene 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who was in charge of the ship during the storm at sea?

2. Why did Alonso, the king, interfere with the Boatswain’s work in securing the ship during the storm?

3. Where did the Boatswain tell the king and his courtiers to go?

4. Who were the first to go to their cabins below the top deck?

5. What joke does Gonzalo tell concerning the Boatswain?

6. How does this joke affect the rest of the passengers and crew?

7. How do Sebastian and Antonio react to the Boatswain?

8. How does the Boatswain respond to Sebastian’s and Antonio’s insulting remarks?

9. How does Antonio decide to die in the storm at sea?

10. How loyal is Sebastian to his brother, the king?

1. The Ship–master was in charge of the Boatswain and the mariners.

2. The king was accustomed to being the supreme authority.

3. The Boatswain told the king and his courtiers to go to their cabins below.

4. Alonso, the king, and Ferdinand, the prince, were the first to go below and pray.

5. Gonzalo’s joke implies that the Boatswain was born to be hanged and need not fear drowning.

6. If the Boatswain does not drown, the rest of the passengers and crew will also be spared.

7. Sebastian and Antonio curse the Boatswain and call him names.

8. The Boatswain responds with “work you then” if they don’t like the way he is handling the job.

9. Antonio wants to sink into the sea with the king.

10. Sebastian wants to leave the king when he thinks the ship is sinking.

Act I, Scene 2, lines 1-188 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Miranda ask her father to calm the storm at sea?

2. How does Prospero comfort Miranda’s fears about the suffering people on the ship?

3. Does Miranda remember anything about her life before she came to the island?

4. How old was Miranda when they arrived on the island?

5. In what way did Antonio dispose of Prospero and Miranda after he had usurped his dukedom?

6. Why did Antonio spare the lives of Prospero and Miranda?

7. Why did Antonio put Prospero and Miranda on an old boat without a sail?

8. Where did Prospero and Miranda get their supplies for the island?

9. Why did Prospero raise the storm at sea with his magic?

10. How long had Prospero and Miranda lived on the island?

1. Miranda knows that he has raised the tempest with his magic and he also has the power to calm the storm.

2. Prospero tells Miranda that there has been “no harm done.”

3. Miranda remembers that several women waited on her in Milan.

4. Miranda was not yet three when they arrived on the island.

5. Prospero and Miranda were put on a “rotten carcass of a butt” without a sail and left on the sea to drown.

6. Prospero was well loved by his people and Antonio wanted to stay in their good graces as the new Duke of Milan.

7. Antonio wanted their deaths to look like an accident.

8. Gonzalo, the king’s councilor, felt sorry for them, stocking their leaky vessel with water, food, clothing, and Prospero’s books.

9. It had been his good fortune to have his enemies arrive off the shore of the island, and this was his chance to regain his dukedom.

10. Prospero and Miranda had lived on the island for the past 12 years.

Act I, Scene 2, lines 189-320 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What three elements of nature does Ariel represent in this scene?

2. How does Ariel “burn in many places” during the tempest?

3. What did the passengers of the ship do when they were afraid of dying?

4. What did Ariel do with the passengers?

5. What did Ariel do with the mariners?

6. Where did he leave the ship? Was it damaged from the storm?

7. What does Ariel expect to get for all of his labors?

8. Why is Prospero angry at Ariel for requesting his freedom?

9. Where did the “foul witch Sycorax” imprison Ariel?

10. Why was Ariel left imprisoned for 12 years?

1. Ariel represents the elements of air, water, and fire.

2. Ariel divides himself and becomes several fires on the ship during the tempest.

3. All except the mariners plunged into the foaming sea.

4. Ariel brought the passengers to the shore, safe and unblemished, and dispersed them in groups around the island.

5. Ariel put them to sleep and left them in the ship.

6. Ariel left the ship in a deep inlet of the island. The ship was undamaged from the storm.

7. Ariel expects Prospero to give him his liberty in exchange for his services.

8. Prospero reminds Ariel of the time he saved him from the curse of Sycorax, and now he feels that Ariel owes him his services.

9. Sycorax imprisoned Ariel in a “cloven pine.”

10. Ariel was left in the “cloven pine” because the old witch, Sycorax, had died in the meantime.

Act I, Scene 2, lines 321-374 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who were the parents of Caliban?

2. What did Prospero do for Caliban when he first came to the island?

3. How did Caliban respond to Prospero’s treatment of him?

4. Why does Caliban feel that he owns the island?

5. What happened when Prospero took Caliban into his own lodging?

6. What does Prospero do to punish Caliban for his behavior?

7. How has Caliban benefited from learning a language?

8. How is Caliban described in the “Names of the Actors”?

9. What does Prospero threaten to do to Caliban if he does not obey him?

10. Why does Caliban finally decide to obey Prospero?

1. Caliban’s parents were the witch, Sycorax, and, according to Prospero, the devil himself.

2. Prospero treated Caliban with kindness, teaching him language and lodging him in his own cell.

3. Caliban learned to love Prospero and showed him where to find fresh water and fertile soil.

4. Caliban feels that he has inherited the island from his mother Sycorax.

5. Caliban attempted to rape Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, after they took him into their lodging.

6. Prospero imprisons Caliban in a rock, subjects him to hard labor, and prevents him from seeing the rest of the island.

7. Caliban says that now, “I know how to curse.”

8. Caliban is described as a “savage and deformed slave.”

9. Prospero threatens to give him painful cramps and aching bones.

10. Caliban obeys because Prospero’s art of magic has the power to control even his mother’s god, Setebos.

Act I, Scene 2, lines 375-504 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who sings the two songs in this part of the play?

2. Who helps Ariel with the dance in “Come Unto These Yellow Sands”?

3. From where does Ferdinand think the music is coming from?

4. According to the song, what has happened to Ferdinand’s father?

5. What is Miranda’s first impression of Ferdinand?

6. What is Ferdinand’s first impression of Miranda?

7. What is Prospero’s false accusation of Ferdinand?

8. Why does Prospero accuse Ferdinand falsely?

9. What is Alonso’s sea-change?

10. Name one way in which music assists the dramatic action of the play?

1. Ariel sings the songs in this part of the play.

2. Ariel’s invisible attendant spirits help him with the dance.

3. Ferdinand thinks the music comes from some god of the island.

4. Ferdinand’s father has supposedly drowned and now “suffers a sea-change.”

5. Miranda thinks Ferdinand is a spirit when she first sees him.

6. Ferdinand thinks Miranda is the goddess who has led him onto the shore with her music.

7. Prospero accuses Ferdinand of coming to the island as a spy so that he could become lord of the island.

8. Prospero falsely accuses Ferdinand because he wants to slow the fast progress of the romantic love between the young couple.

9. Alonso’s body is supposedly lying at the bottom of the sea where each part of it is transformed into a rich sea substance.

10. Music assists the dramatic action of the play by leading Ferdinand onto the island.

Act II, Scene 1, lines 1-184 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is Alonso feeling depressed and sad?

2. How do Antonio and Sebastian react to Alonso’s depressed mood?

3. How does Adrian feel about the atmosphere of the island?

4. What is Adrian’s main dramatic purpose in this scene?

5. What happened to the garments of the royal party during the storm at sea?

6. Who was “Widow Dido”?

7. Why does Alonso feel that he suffers a double loss?

8. Why does Sebastian tell Alonso he has himself to blame for his son’s death?

9. Who would manage Gonzalo’s ideal commonwealth?

10. How does Alonso feel about Gonzalo’s proposed commonwealth?

1. Alonso is grieving the supposed loss of his son Ferdinand.

2. Sebastian and Antonio are rude and insensitive to Alonso.

3. Adrian feels that the island is uninhabitable, yet the air is sweet and the climate is temperate.

4. Adrian acts as a foil to Antonio and Sebastian who are cynical and abusive.

5. Their garments were drenched but now they are as fresh as they were the day they put them on in Africa.

6. “Widow Dido” alludes to Aeneas’ lover in Virgil’s The Aeneid.

7. Alonso feels he has lost his daughter in marriage to a man in a distant country and has lost his son in the tempest at sea.

8. Sebastian is implying that Alonso forced his daughter to marry a foreigner. It was their trip to the wedding that caused his son’s death.

9. Gonzalo would be the king of the commonwealth.

10. Alonso does not want to hear about Gonzalo’s commonwealth.

Act II, Scene 1, lines 185-328 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Alonso feel about sleep?

2. What does Antonio do as soon as the king falls asleep?

3. In what way is Sebastian an heir to the throne?

4. How does Sebastian feel when Antonio suggests that Sebastian should be the future king?

5. How does Antonio feel about his conscience?

6. How does Antonio view the king’s position in the natural hierarchy or society’s law of degree.

7. Who has sent Ariel to stop the conspiracy? Why?

8. What is Prospero’s project?

9. Why are Antonio and Sebastian caught with their swords drawn?

10. What was Antonio and Sebastian’s excuse for drawing their...

(The entire section is 242 words.)

Act II, Scene 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Trinculo think he has discovered when he first meets Caliban?

2. Where does Trinculo hide from the impending thunderstorm?

3. How did Stephano arrive at the shore of the island?

4. How did Trinculo get to the shore?

5. What does Stephano think he has found when he runs across Caliban’s cloak with four legs protruding?

6. How does Stephano’s wine affect Caliban?

7. What does Caliban ask Stephano to be?

8. What promises does Caliban make to Trinculo and Stephano?

9. What is the central idea in Caliban’s song?

10. What does Trinculo think about Caliban’s worship of Stephano as...

(The entire section is 209 words.)

Act III, Scene 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Ferdinand have a positive attitude about carrying logs?

2. How does Miranda feel about Ferdinand’s hard labor of carrying logs?

3. What does Miranda offer to do for Ferdinand?

4. How does Ferdinand respond to Miranda’s offer?

5. How does Miranda compare to other women Ferdinand has known?

6. Why does Miranda begin to cry?

7. Why does Ferdinand call himself the king?

8. Who proposes marriage in this scene?

9. What will Miranda do if Ferdinand does not want her for his wife?

10. How does Prospero feel about his daughter’s marriage to Ferdinand?


(The entire section is 243 words.)

Act III, Scene 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is Caliban unable to walk in the beginning of this scene?

2. What is Caliban’s proposal to Stephano and Trinculo?

3. Who does Caliban suggest as king of the island? What position will Caliban hold?

4. What is Ariel’s purpose for mimicking Trinculo’s voice?

5. Why does Stephano beat Trinculo?

6. What is the first thing the conspirators intend to do when they reach Prospero’s cell?

7. Why are Prospero’s books important to the conspiracy?

8. Who notices that Stephano and Trinculo cannot get the tune of the catch?

9. Who is afraid of the mysterious music of Ariel’s tabor and pipe?


(The entire section is 225 words.)

Act III, Scene 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does the royal party stop to rest during their search for Ferdinand?

2. What do Sebastian and Antonio plan to do that night?

3. What do Ariel’s spirits bring onto the stage?

4. What does Ariel do when he arrives on the stage?

5. Who does Ariel address in his speech?

6. What does Ariel warn them about in his speech?

7. What does Ariel mean by “heart’s sorrow”?

8. What is meant when Ariel refers to “a clear life ensuing”?

9. In what condition are the three men when Prospero leaves them?

10. What does Alonso intend to do by the end of this scene?


(The entire section is 242 words.)

Act IV, Scene 1, lines 1-163 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why did Prospero punish Ferdinand by forcing him to carry logs?

2. What was Ferdinand’s reward for standing up under the test of log-bearing?

3. What is Prospero’s warning to Ferdinand?

4. What does Prospero instruct Ariel to do in this scene?

5. Which characters are given dialogue in the masque?

6. List the characters who sing the masque song?

7. Explain the reason why Ceres does not want Venus to attend the masque?

8. In whose honor is the masque given?

9. Why does the masque suddenly vanish?

10. In what way does Prospero compare life to the masque or the stage?


(The entire section is 220 words.)

Act IV, Scene 1, lines 164-266 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where has Ariel led Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo with his tabor and pipe?

2. What does Prospero instruct Ariel to do in this scene?

3. What does Prospero call Caliban in this scene?

4. Why does Prospero feel he has treated Caliban humanely?

5. How do Stephano and Trinculo react to Prospero’s expensive wardrobe?

6. How does Caliban react to Prospero’s finery?

7. What have Stephano and Trinculo lost in the “filthy-mantled pool”?

8. What do Stephano and Trinculo do with Prospero’s kingly robes?

9. Who carries the stolen clothing? Why?

10. What finally happens to the thieving trio?...

(The entire section is 214 words.)

Act V, Scene 1, lines 1-87 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. In what way is Shakespeare observing the Aristotelian unity of time?

2. Where has Ariel left the members of the royal party?

3. What is the emotional condition of the king and his followers?

4. What does Prospero decide to do about the royal party?

5. Why does Prospero call on his elves and fairies?

6. What does Prospero intend to do with his magic staff and book?

7. Why does Prospero give up his magic?

8. Why do the king and his royal party stand in a circle?

9. What does Prospero tell Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio after the magic spell wears off?

10. What does Prospero do with his magic robe...

(The entire section is 256 words.)

Act V, Scene 1, 88-171 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Ariel doing while he is singing?

2. Where will Ariel go when Prospero sets him free?

3. How does Ariel feel while he is singing his song?

4. How does Ariel’s freedom song compare to Caliban’s freedom song?

5. What does Alonso say when he sees Prospero?

6. How does Prospero assure Alonso and Gonzalo that he is still alive?

7. What does Prospero say to his brother Antonio?

8. What is Alonso’s irreparable loss?

9. What does Alonso say that would reconcile him to Prospero and bring their families together?

10. What is Prospero ready to do in response to Alonso’s wish for their...

(The entire section is 226 words.)

Act V, Scene 1, 172-255 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What are Ferdinand and Miranda pretending to do as Prospero discovers them? What are they really doing?

2. What does Ferdinand do when he sees his father, the king?

3. Why does Ferdinand feel that the seas are merciful?

4. What does Miranda think when she first sees the members of the royal court?

5. How does Alonso feel about asking Miranda’s forgiveness?

6. How will Ferdinand and Miranda’s marriage change the future “brave new world” of Milan?

7. How does Gonzalo react when he sees the boatswain?

8. What has happened to the ship in the tempest?

9. What does Prospero promise Ariel as a reward for...

(The entire section is 278 words.)

Act V, Scene 1, Lines 256-330 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Interpret Stephano’s confused speech when he says, “Every man shift for all the rest, and let no man take care for himself.”

2. How does Antonio react when he sees Caliban?

3. Do Antonio and Sebastian become repentant for their past deeds?

4. Does Caliban change in the course of the play?

5. Where will Ferdinand and Miranda celebrate their marriage?

6. Where will the king and his royal court spend the night?

7. How will Prospero entertain his overnight guests?

8. Who will make sure the royal party has calm seas for their trip to Naples?

9. Where does Ariel go when Prospero gives him his freedom?...

(The entire section is 279 words.)