The Tempest Essay Questions
How do the events of the first scene provide an ironic comment on the actions of the two subsequent scenes?
The events of the first scene inform us about the affair that prevails between Ferdinand and Miranda. Miranda sees Ferdinand and he is the first man she had seen after her father. Ferdinand feels pleasure in doing the labor because of Miranda. The whole meeting that takes place is also viewed by Prospero, Miranda’s father who is shown as the controller of all events that take place on the island. Ironically, Prospero is also present in all other happenings unseen in coming scenes as he handles every event with his will. In the other two scenes of the act, Caliban is shown again subservient to Stephano. He is Prospero’s slave and he wishes to kill Prospero without thinking that he will still be a slave. The first scene is also a love scene while the other two scenes of the act are about conspirators and revenge with no love in them. The other two scenes are just contrasting to the first one.
The lovers are ready to bear pains for each other as Ferdinand says in Act III, scene 1,
“There be some sports are painful, and their labour
Delight in them sets off: some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone and most poor matters
Point to rich ends. This my mean task
Would be as heavy to me as odious, but
The mistress which I serve quickens whats dead
And makes my labours pleasures ………..” (III.ii.1-7)
How does Caliban reveal himself to be more eloquent than Stephano or Trinculo?
In Act III, scene 2, Caliban reveals himself to be more eloquent than Stephano or Trinculo by expressing his knowledge about the island and its mysteries while the other two companions of Caliban are threatened by voices made by Ariel and Caliban feels no threat at all as he says,
“The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.” (III.ii.130–138)
What does this quality suggest about his character?
Caliban’s eloquence about the island informs that he truly belongs to the island as he is aware of its mysteries. He is closely related to nature. His character is not refined but raw and close to nature. He is a creature of the island and owns it. Caliban is not shown here as a monster or a slave but a person having enough knowledge about his own surroundings and his speech makes the audience feel mercy for him, as he becomes a sympathetic character here.
If Caliban and Miranda had the same upbringing, why are they so different?
Miranda is Prospero’s own daughter and she is also a human being while Caliban is the creature of the island and is not human being. Prospero reared both of them but Miranda was brought up with love, care and education while Caliban was only brought up as a servant and slave who should always obey as he is asked and also he performed all the rough jobs. For Miranda, Prospero is a father, a caretaker while for Caliban, Prospero is a master, a controller and makes Caliban to do what he himself wishes. Miranda’s bringing up is evident from Ferdinand’s praise. Ferdinand in praising Miranda says,
Indeed the top of admiration! worth
Whats dearest to the world!
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creatures best!” (III. i.37-39, 46-48)
Nature is represented by Caliban while nurture
What does this difference suggest about the relative importance of nature versus nurture?
is represented by Miranda. Both are quite different. Caliban is revenging, abusive, brash, annoying and unhappy while Miranda is humble, soft-spoken, loving and a happy soul. These differences exist because of their different rearing up. Miranda gets the care and love of a parent while Caliban is parentless and is at the mercy of Prospero and nature. Nature is present in raw form while after nurturing, it gets refined and the characters of Miranda and Caliban represent this fact.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Retrieved on December 14, 2011 from http://shakespeare.mit.edu/tempest/full.html