Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 3 & 4. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.
The Tempest, Act 3
What does Ferdinand mean when he says, “The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead” (3.1.6)?
How’s Ferdinand’s history with women?
Ferdinand refers to himself as a “patient log man” (3.1.68) conscripted to “wooden slavery” (3.1.62). How do his descriptions of himself and his service compare to the epithet Stephano gives Caliban, “servant monster” (3.2.3)?
Has Miranda ever seen any other women?
Are Ferdinand and Miranda married by the end of 3.1?
Why does Caliban kneel before Trinculo & Stephano in 3.2? Why does Ariel contradict the story Caliban tells the other men?
There are a lot of vows taken in Act 3. Compare the vows Miranda and Ferdinand make to one another to the vows Caliban and Stephano exchange.
How do the conspirators plan to Kill Prospero? Compare the rebellion against Prospero to the plot to kill Alonso. Might also compare the two attempted murders to the attempted rape mentioned in 1.2.?
Why does Caliban instruct Stephano to “Burn but his books” (3.2.90) before he kills Prospero?
Why do you think that Caliban pledges his service to Stephano instead of leading the insurgency?
Is Caliban’s description of the isle based on experience or desire? Compare his description to Gonzalo & Trinculo’s.
What’s a “Living Drollery!” (3.3.21)? What does sight of it confirm for the nobles?
What’s a “quaint device” (SD 3.3.52)?
How does the sea function like a character in 3.3?
The Tempest, Act 4
What’s the relationship between the disappearing banquet in 3.3 and the nuptial masque in 4.1?
In his aside at the end of act 3, Prospero says, “My high charms work” (3.3.88). What does he mean? Should we credit Prospero with saving Alonso or stirring up trouble between Trinculo and Stephano? Then compare Prospero’s previous claims to “art” with the play-in-the-play that he calls, “Some vanity of mine art” (4.1.41) he puts on for Miranda and Ferdinand.
What sorts of stipulations does Prospero attach to the the “gift” he gives to Ferdinand? What sorts of things will befall the couple if they do not follow Prospero’s instructions?
Compare Iris’ opening intonation to Ceres in the masque to Gonzalo’s utopian vision of the island? What rhetorical features do they share?
Does the weird pagan celebration at the heart of this play seem pagan and/or potentially sacrilegious? Is this the blessing that Prospero warned the couple to wait for?
Why can’t Venus come to the wedding celebration?
What sorts of blessings do the goddesses wish on the couple?
What does Ferdinand mean when he says: “Let me live here ever;/So rare a wondered father and a wise/Makes this place a paradise” (4.1.123-5)?
How & why does the masque end?
How does Prospero comfort Miranda and Ferdinand? Is he successful?
How does Prospero snare the conspirators?