Study guide questions the Tempest

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Act I

1. Why is the boatswain so rude to his passengers?

Because the passengers cuss him out and interfere with his work.

2. How did Prospero and Miranda come to live on the island?

Prospero was deposed as Duke of Milan because he neglected his duties, choosing to spend his time studying magic. They were exiled when Antonio and Alonso seized power. Gonzalo gave P & M food, water, and P’s books in their boat where they were sent off.

3. Who is Caliban?

Caliban is Prospero’s servant on the island. He is the son of the witch Sycorax, and believes the island rightfully belongs to him and Prospero took it from him.

4. Who is Ferdinand, and what happens when he meets Miranda?

Ferdinand is the son of Alonso and the prince of Naples. He falls in love with Miranda at first sight.

5. Why did Prospero become rude to Ferdinand?

It is because Ferdinand and Miranda fell in love too fast. Prospero has an ornate plot to get his dukedom back, and the couple being half in love is one of the keys.
Act II

1. What do Antonio and Sebastian do while the others sleep?

Antonio tries to convince Sebastian to kill Alonso in his sleep so with Ferdinand gone Sebastian can become the king of Naples.

2. Why didn't Sebastian kill Alonso?

Ariel yelled in Gonzalo’s ear right before Antonio was about to kill G. Gonzalo yelled to “preserve the king”, and S and An stopped in their tracks and pretended to be on guard against some beasts bellowing.

3. Why does Caliban take up with Stephano and Trinculo?

Caliban was carrying wood and hid from Trinculo because the spirits are mean to C and he thought T was a spirit. He then enjoys Stephano’s liquor.

1. What do Ferdinand and Miranda decide to do in Scene One?

They decide to get married.

2. What does Caliban want to do with Stephano and Trinculo while Prospero naps in the afternoon? Why?

He wants to kill him in order to get his island back.

3. What tricks do Prospero and Ariel play on Alonso's group?

They make a banquet appear, then have the spirits take it away again, knowing that Alonso’s group is hungry yet doesn’t know what is safe to eat.

4. What is Alonso's reaction to Ariel's reminders? Sebastian's? Antonio's?

Alonso is sad that he has lost Ferdinand while Sebastian and Antonio draw their swords and want to go fight whatever spirits they can find.
Act IV

1. What is Prospero's "gift" to Ferdinand?

His gift is his blessing and the blessings of Iris, Ceres, and Juno.

2. For what purpose did Prospero produce spirits to play Iris, Ceres and Juno?

So Ferdinand will like the spirits and want to be around them, so he’ll stay on the island as P wants him to.

3. What tricks do Prospero and Ariel play on Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo?

Ariel leads C, S, and T into a polluted lake with his music, and then they hang out clothes that distract them.
Act V

1. Why does Prospero release the king's group?

It is because P realizes that they feel truly sorry for their actions.

2. What is Prospero's reaction when Alonso tries to apologize to Miranda for sending her and her father away?

Prospero tells him to stop apologizing and that he has already been forgiven.

3. What is ironic about Miranda's "brave new world" lines?

The whole play has everybody trying to kill everybody else to gain power. In fact, C, Ste, T, Ant, and Seb were just planning to kill either Prospero or Alonso.

4. How does Prospero force Sebastian and Antonio into the background?

He aggressively calls them “most wicked”, and tells them that even though their actions were bad, they have been forgiven.

5. How does Caliban react when back in Prospero's presence?

He forgets his pride and tells Prospero that he is sorry for what he did, and asks for mercy, not grace*.

6. What is Prospero's final command to Ariel?

It is to see the king’s group and Stephano and Trinculo safely home.
*Grace is getting something that you don’t deserve; mercy is not getting something that you deserve.
Prospero- Former Duke of Milan. Father of Miranda, and possesses servants Ariel and Caliban. He is the protagonist of the drama and seeks revenge by creating the Tempest with Ariel’s help. Likes studying magic and neglecting his dukely duties.
Miranda- Prospero’s daughter. Has seen no human except for her father and maybe Caliban. Falls in love with the prince of Naples.
Ferdinand- Alonso’s son and prince of Naples. Falls in love with Miranda.
Caliban- Human, sub-human, or monster, hard to tell. Tried to rape Miranda and is in Prospero’s service, hauling wood around. Sycorax’s son, and heir to the island. Very reluctant to serve Prospero and disobedient.
Ariel- A spirit, and Prospero’s obedient servant. Creates the tempest in the beginning. Sycorax imprisoned him in a tree and Prospero rescued him.
Alonso- King of Naples and father of Ferdinand. Contemplates suicide when he thinks Ferdinand is dead. Helped Antonio overthrow Prospero as duke.
Antonio- Duke of Milan and Prospero’s brother. Overthrew Prospero with help of Alonso. Tries to get Sebastian to kill Alonso.
Sebastian- Alonso’s brother.
Gonzalo- Elderly lord who was loyal to Prospero even after he was overthrown.
Stephano- Alonso’s butler and a heavy drinker. Caliban worships him as a god because Stephano has lots of liquor on him at every moment and C wanted some.
Trinculo- Alonso’s jester and what a fool!!! Traveled to England once and is a drunkard, getting drunk alongside Stephano and Caliban.
*There will also be a matching section where you need to match a character to a description of the character.


1. Similarities and differences between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

2. Causes and effects of the Fall of Rome and Han China.

3. Causes and effects of the Bantu migration in Africa.

4. Similarities and differences among European colonial empires in the Americas in the Early Modern Era.

5. Characteristics of early civilizations.

6. Characteristics of the Silk Road.

7. Development and changes of Sub-Saharan African economy and state structures.

8. Compare and Contrast the development of Indian Ocean trade routes in the Classical Period to Transatlantic trade routes in the early modern era.

9. Compare the expansion of Han, Persian and Roman empires.

10. Causes of the growth of cities in Afro-Eurasia between 1000 and 1450.

11. Compare and contrast social and political structures between China and India in the Classical Period.

12. Causes and Effects of the Columbian Exchange.

13. Compare and Contrast the Mughal and Ottoman Empires.

14. Significance of large plantations run by slave labor during the Early Modern Period.

15. Characteristics of the Confucian social order in China.

16. Characteristics of the Mongol Empire, specifically focusing on trade and political structures.

*Other questions will have you read a map or short passage and answer a question.

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