and put Prospero and Miranda out to sea in a boatwhich drifted to the island. They survived only because Gonzaloprovided them with food and water. Now a storm has brought aship to their island carrying those who betrayed Prospero.Prospero puts on his magic robes and charms Miranda to sleep.
- PLOT SUMMARY
(1.2.187) Enter ARIEL.Prospero calls for "my Ariel"and the spirit appears,offering to do anythingProspero asks, "be't to fly, / Toswim, to dive into the fire, toride / On the curl'd clouds."Prospero asks if Ariel hasperformed the task he hasgiven him. Ariel says that hehas, that he has created aspectacular storm of fire.(What Ariel describes isknown as "St. Elmo's fire ,"which is a naturalphenomenom, though inShakespeare's time it wasthought to be magical.)Prospero continues to question Ariel, and asks how those on theship reacted to the storm. Ariel reports that "Not a soul / But felta fever of the mad and play'd / Some tricks of desperation." Allof the passengers jumped ship and swam for it. By his magic,Ariel brought them all safely to shore, with not a blemish ontheir clothes. As for the sailors, they were brought safely toharbor, and then charmed to sleep.Prospero praises Ariel for following instructions, then tells himthat there is more work to be done. At this, Ariel complains thatProspero promised him his liberty. Prospero responds by tellingAriel that the term of his servitude is not yet up and reminding
him of all that he has done for him.As Prospero speaks we learn the back-story of Ariel. When the"foul witch Sycorax" was banished to the uninhabited island,Ariel was her servant. On the island, because Ariel was "a spirittoo delicate / To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,"Sycorax imprisoned Ariel within a "cloven pine," then died,leaving Ariel to howl for twelve years, with only Caliban, theinhuman son of Sycorax, for company.Finally Prospero wrings out ofAriel a acknowledgement ofhis debt of gratitude. Prosperothen issues a threat and apromise to Ariel. If Arielcomplains any more, Prosperowill imprison him within anoak, but if Ariel doeseverything asked of him"gently" Prospero will granthim freedom within two days.(As it turns out, Prosperogives Ariel his freedom muchsooner, four hours later, at theend of the play.)Ariel promises to be good, anProspero gives further instructions: he is make himself "like anymph o' the sea" and return, invisible to all but Prospero.(1.2.305) Exit Ariel.Prospero awakens Miranda from her sleep and tells her they