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Act 3, Scene 3 Notes from The Tempest

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The Tempest Act 3, Scene 3

The stage is reset for another part of the island. Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian and Francisco enter the stage. Gonzalo states that he needs a rest from their long walk. Alonso tells him that he cannot blame them and that he has almost given up hope of finding his son. Antonio tells Sebastian that this forlorn hope is in their favor. They plan to attack again that night. Music springs up from the orchestra and amorphous shapes carry in the makings of a banquet. These performers are dressed loosely in sheets and cloaks. Alonso cries out in surprise and so does Sebastian:

"A living drollery! Now I will believe
that there are unicorns; that in Arabia
There is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenix
At this hour reigning there."
Act 3, Scene 3, lines 21 - 24.

Antonio also expresses his surprise and Gonzalo wonders whether or not any one in Naples would believe his account of such events. Prospero, in the shadows, says that some of those men present "are worse than devils." Act 3, Scene 3, line 35. Alonso doesn't trust such apparitions but soon they disappear. The men react at the disappearance of the shapes with curiosity about the food. No one dares to taste it, for fear of enchantment. Gonzalo tries to comfort them and so does the King. Suddenly, Ariel enters, dressed as a harpy, and the performers carry off the banquet. Ariel speaks from the side as the men all cower together:

"You are three men of sin, whom destiny,
That hath to instrument this lower world
And what is in't, the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch up you, and on this island
Where man doth not inhabit-you 'mongst men
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;"
Act 3, Scene 3, lines 53 - 58.

Two of them draw their swords, but Ariel calls them fools and proceeds to recount the tale of Prospero's expulsion from Milan. He tells Antonio and Alonso that they remain guilty. He tells the group that their worse fate will befall them on the island. Ariel exits the stage and the shapes depart with the table. Prospero speaks from the shadows and observes that through their fear they are now under his control. Alonso tells Gonzalo what he has heard and exits. Sebastian and Antonio soon follow him. Gonzalo speaks to Adrian:

"All three of them are desperate: their great guilt,
like poison given to work a great time after,
Now 'gins to bite their spirits. I do beseech you
That are of suppler joints, follow them swiftly,
And hinder them from what this ecstasy
May now provoke them to."
Act 3, Scene 3, lines 103 - 108.

The rest of the players exit, the curtain falls, and the stage is reset.

Topic Tracking: Authority 10
Topic Tracking: Dramatic Irony 5
Topic Tracking: Old World/New World 6

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