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The Tempest: Act 2, Scene 1 Summary & Commentary

Plot Summary / The Story-line

Act two, scene one of the play The Tempest opens on another part of the island. While Ferdinand is falling in love with Miranda, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, and other shipwrecked lords are searching for him. Alonso grieves over the supposed loss of his son. Gonzalo tries earnestly to assuage Alonso’s grief -stricken mind. Antonio and Sebastian go on joking in jovial manner. Both of them pay but a deaf attention and mock somewhat banteringly Gonzalo’s attempt at placating Alonso’s sorrow.

Now, Ariel appears and charms Alonso, Gonzalo and other lords to sleep by dint of Ariel’s magic. Only Antonio and Sebastian are left awake. Antonio is all set to hatch a brutal plot to kill the sleeping king, Alonso. Sebastian agrees but when they draw their sword, Ariel reappears and wakens the sleepers. Alonso is safe now. The four men set out searching for Ferdinand.

Commentary on Act II, Scene i

The scene is a presentation of Elizabethan wit and humour. But sombre seriousness gradually encroaches upon them and Antonio’s latent malevolent instinct gets churned up and meditates over the murder of Alonso. Prospero is very much visible through his representative Ariel. It is significant enough that Prospero has overwhelming mastery and control over the action. The magic world returns with Ariel’s solemn music. Ariel’s timely appearance precipitates the action of the drama.

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