The Tempest Act 5 Scene 1 Notes ISC Class 11 and Class 12


In a self-satisfied, happy mood, Prospero tells Ariel that everything is going according to his plan. He is satisfied with the working of all his spirits commanded by his magic powers He asks Ariel who king Alonso and his companions are getting on. He learns that they are all frozen and are in sorrowful poses. He orders Ariel to release them from the magic charm and bring them back to their normal conditions. In soliloquy, Prospero says that he is going to give up magic, and declares that he will break his magic wand, bury it beneath the earth and sink his books of magic in the sea.

Ariel comes back with other courtiers and makes them stand inside a charmed circle. Then Prospero gradually brings them out of their induced sleep. He takes off his magic robes and appears before them as the Duke of Milan. Prospero reveals his true identity to the courtiers after they come out of their sleep. Alonso gives back his dukedom to him and begs forgiveness. Prospero greets Gonzalo and welcomes him. But he tells Antonio and Sebastian that he could expose their treacherous conspiracy to kill the king, but he won’t do so. He is ready to forgive Antonio for his crime against him but he demands that they should recognise his right to get his kingdom back.

Prospero, then, says that he has lost his daughter, Miranda, just as Alonso has lost his son Ferdinand during the tempest. After a while, Prospero shows Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess in his cave. Ferdinand says that he has chosen Miranda for his wife. Alonso, his father, happily gives his consent to his marriage with Miranda.

Then Ariel comes and informs that the ship and all its crew are safe in a harbour nearby. Then he brings in Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo. Caliban asks for pardon. Prospero asks Caliban to return to his cell, and Alonso tells Stephano and Trinculo to return their stolen clothes. Prospero invites all to spend the evening with him in his cave. Prospero gives his final command to Ariel to provide calm seas and favourable winds on their return journey.

After that he will be released from all bonds and obligations. Then he will be totally free.

Critical Commentary

Prospero’s main purpose was to make the sinners realise and repent for their misdeeds.

First of all he orders Ariel to release the three wrong-doers, namely Alonso, Stephano and Antonio from his magic spell and bring them to his cell. Though he is in a position to take revenge and destroy his enemies, he chooses the path of forgiveness. When Prospero reveals his true identity, Alonso asks for his forgiveness. Prospero tells Antonio and Sebastian that he knows their treacherous plot, but he will not reveal it provided they restore his duekdom to him. They submit to Prospero’s superior strength and agree to what Prospero says.

Caliban , too declares that he will change for the better. Either for fear of punishment or from real understanding of the situation , he says that he will henceforth be wise and will seek grace. So all those characters who are capable of redeeming themselves find redemption in this comedy.

The play ends on a note of forgiveness and reconciliation. The supernatural machinery is used for beneficent purposes.

The love affair of Miranda and Ferdinand sustains the interest of the audience.

Significance of the Scene

  1. The last scene brings a satisfactory close to the end.
  2. The play ends on a note of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  3. Antonio and Sebastian remain unrepentant and are quietly ignored by Prospero in his hour of glory.
  4. There are enough hints to show that The Tempest is Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage.

Word Meanings

How’s the day : What time of day is it?

crack : blow up

reeds : thatched building

penitent : repentant

Neptune : the god of sea

demi-puppets : half puppets

Jove : mightiest god

abjure : give up

fancy : imagination

sociable : sympathetic

pinched : afflicted with pangs of conscience

rapier : sword

dainty : delicate

brace : pair

mudded : buried

jostled : driven

requite : repay

compass : surround

goodly : attractive

renown : report

chalk’d forth : selected

glasses : hours

jingling : clanging

liege : lord

pick’d leisure : selected opportunity for leisure

Coragio : courage

reeling ripe : so drunk as to stagger

disproportioned : ill-formed

cell : room

morn : morning

nuptial : connected with marriage

so expeditious : so fast

chick : dear bird