RQ: The Tempest, Act 4 & 5


Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 4.& 5 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.

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?

Where does Prospero’s magic (or technical knowledge) come from?

Why does Prospero want to toss out his magic book and staff? Is he successful?

What is Prospero wearing when he reveals himself as “sometime Milan”?

Does Prospero get his revenge on Alonso? On Antonio?

How have the characters transformed over the course of the play? Is it possible for them to ever change back to what they were before the island?

Do the Europeans ever leave?

How does The Tempest end & why?

What’s “Original Pronunciation”? How does it compare to the pronunciation we’ve heard so far?

Why does The Tempest feel so contemporary? To what uses can put it in our world?


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