The Tempest Act 4 Scene 1 Questions and Answers ISC Class 11 and Class 12


Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And – like the baseless fabric of this vision –
The cloud – capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed;

(i) What has come to an end, according to Prospero?

Answer : Prospero has arranged an entertaining masque by his spirits . Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, Juno, the queen of the gods and Ceres, an earth goddess have participated in it to entertain and bless Ferdinand and Miranda. The masque is ended suddenly. Prospero asks Ferdinand not to look distracted as the show has ended.

(ii) How does Prospero philosophize the event?

Answer : Prospero tells Ferdinand that all the spirits have melted into this air. Like these spirits, everything in the world vanishes one day – castles with their towers rising to the clouds, magnificent palaces and stately temples and even the great world itself. The whole life is unreal and transitory.

(iii) “Sir, I am vexed.” Why does Prospero say so?

Answer : Prospero is suddenly in an irritated and agitated mood. He is actually reminded of Caliban’s evil designs. He knows how Caliban has persuaded Stephano and Trinculo to murder him.

(iv) What do Ferdinand and Miranda say before leaving Prospero?

Answer : Ferdinand and Miranda wish that Prospero may regain his peace of mind and leave him alone.

(v) Where has Ariel left Caliban and his co-conspirators?

Answer : Ariel through his music has led Caliban and his associates in the evil plan to a dirt-covered stinking pool. He tells Prospero how the three rascals danced in the stinking pool as they were badly drunk.

(vi) Give the meanings of the following words as they are used in the context of the passage:
(a) fabric (b) inherit

Answer : (a) structure (b) possess


Say again, where didst thou leave these varlets?

I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking,
So full of valour that they smote the air
For breathing in their faces, beat the ground
For kissing of their feet, yet always bending
Towards their project. Then I beat my tabor,
At which like unbacked colts they pricked their ears,
Advanced their eyelids, lifted up their nose
As they smelt music; So I charmed their ears
that calf-like they my lowing followed, through
Toothed briars, sharp furzes, pricking goss and thorns,
Which entered their frail shins. At last I left them
I’th’ filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell,
There dancing up to th’ chins, that the foul lake
O’ erstunk their feet.

(i) What has happened earlier in the context?

Answer : Prospero, in order to provide an entertainment to Ferdinand and Miranda, has arranged a masque by his spirits. The three goddesses Iris, Juno and Ceres come to bless the couple. But suddenly Prospero is reminded of Caliban’s evil design, and he ends the masque all of a sudden.

(ii) What did Ariel see Caliban and his associates do?

Answer : Ariel saw that Caliban and his associates – Stephano and Trinculo – were all intoxicated with drinking. They beat the air when it blew in their faces. They beat the ground for daring to kiss their feet. But even in that state they were aware of the plan that they had to execute.

(iii) Where did Ariel lead the three men to?

Answer : Ariel made the three men follow the sound of his tune. They followed him through thorny briars, sharp furz bushes, prickly gorse and thorns which pierced their legs. At last they were taken to a stinking pool.

(iv) How are Caliban and his men punished later in the context?

Answer : On Prospero’s bidding several spirits appear in the form of dogs and hounds and hunt the three men. Later they afflict them with stiffness and pain in their joints. Thus, they are punished for their evil plan.

(v) What does Caliban realize later?

Answer : Caliban realizes later that it is better to serve Prospero than a drunkard like Stephano.

(vi) Give the meanings of the following words as they are used in the context of the passage:
(a) red-hot (b) goss

Answer : (a) flushed (b) prickly shrub


A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains
Humanely taken-all, all lost, quite lost!
And, as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers. I will plague them all,
Even to roaring . Come, hand them on this line.

(i) What has Caliban done to annoy Prospero?

Answer : Caliban has always hated Prospero. He persuades Stephano and Trinculo to kill Prospero in his afternoon nap. He is ready to worship Stephano and accept him as the king of the island.

(ii) Explain : ‘A devil, a born devil, on whose nature/Nurture can never stick………’

Answer : It means that Prospero thinks that Caliban is one of those on whose brutal nature, culture can make no lasting impression. ‘Nurture’ here refers to good education or training. Some persons like Caliban remain at the animal level whatever education they are given.

(iii) Why is Prospero remoseful?

Answer : Prospero recalls his efforts in civilizing Caliban. He treated Caliban well and taught him to speak in a language . But one day Caliban made an attempt on the honour of his daughter. Since then he hated Caliban and made no more effort to reform him. He feels remorseful that all his efforts to civilize him have been lost.

(iv) What does he decide to do?

Answer : Prospero is really in a bad mood and wants to teach Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo a bitter lesson for conspiring against his life. He declares that he will torment them till he makes them roar.

(v) Who appear soon thereafter, and in what state?

Answer : Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo appear. They are fully wet as they have been in a pond of stinking water and mud.

(vi) Give the meanings of the following words as they are used in the context of the passage:
(a) nurture (b) cankers

Answer : (a) training (b) grows more foul


Monster, come put some lime upon your fingers,
and away with the rest.

I will have none on’t. We shall lost out time,
And all be turned to barnacles, or to apes
With foreheads villainous low.

Monster, lay to your fingers. Help to bear this away
Where my hogshead of wine is, or I’ll turn you out
of my kingdom! Go to; carry this.

(i) Where are Caliban and his co-conspirators, and why?

Answer : Caliban and his co-conspirators, Stephano and Trinculo, are in Prospero’s cave. Their purpose in coming there is to murder Prospero in his afternoon nap. The architect of this evil design is Caliban who hates Prospero for usurping his island and making him a slave.

(ii) What has Ariel done to distract the attention of the three men?

Answer : On Prospero’s bidding Ariel has hung some colourful clothes on a line in the cave. Trinculo and Stephano are both attracted by the clothes. The garments seem to them an expensive kind of wardrobe. Only Caliban remains unaffected.

(iii) Explain – “………Come put some lime upon your fingers, and away with the rest.”

Answer : ‘Lime’ is bird lime, with which birds are snared. Trinculo asks Caliban to put some lime upon his fingers and remove the rest of the clothing.

(iv) What are the fears in Caliban’s mind?

Answer : Caliban fears that in case Prospero wakes up he, by his magical powers , will transform them into barnacles or to apes with low receding foreheads.

(v) How is Stephano behaving?

Answer : Stephano is behaving like a king. He orders Caliban to help them carry away the garments to a place where his barrel of wine is kept. If Caliban refuses to do so, he will turn him out of his kingdom. The way he behaves in a drunken state is quite amusing.

(vi) Give the meanings of the following words as they are used in the context of the passage:
(a) lime (b) villainous

Answer : (a) bird-lime (b) disproportionately