Script of Act I The Tempest
The play by William Shakespeare
This section contains the script of Act I of The Tempest the play by William Shakespeare. The enduring works of William Shakespeare feature many famous and well loved characters. Make a note of any unusual words that you encounter whilst reading the script of The Tempest and check their definition in the Shakespeare Dictionary The script of The Tempest is extremely long. To reduce the time to load the script of the play, and for ease in accessing specific sections of the script, we have separated the text of The Tempest into Acts. Please click The Tempest Script to access further Acts.
Script / Text of Act I The Tempest
SCENE I. On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise
of thunder and lightning heard.
Enter a Master and a Boatswain
Here, master: what cheer?
Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely,
or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.
Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts!
yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the
master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind,
if room enough!
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others
Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master?
Play the men.
I pray now, keep below.
Where is the master, boatswain?
Do you not hear him? You mar our labour: keep your
cabins: you do assist the storm.
Nay, good, be patient.
When the sea is. Hence! What cares these roarers
for the name of king? To cabin: silence! trouble us not.
Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.
None that I more love than myself. You are a
counsellor; if you can command these elements to
silence, and work the peace of the present, we will
not hand a rope more; use your authority: if you
cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and make
yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of
the hour, if it so hap. Cheerly, good hearts! Out
of our way, I say.
I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he
hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is
perfect gallows. Stand fast, good Fate, to his
hanging: make the rope of his destiny our cable,
for our own doth little advantage. If he be not
born to be hanged, our case is miserable.
Down with the topmast! yare! lower, lower! Bring
her to try with main-course.
A cry within
A plague upon this howling! they are louder than
the weather or our office.
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO
Yet again! what do you here? Shall we give o'er
and drown? Have you a mind to sink?
A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous,
Work you then.
Hang, cur! hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker!
We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.
I'll warrant him for drowning; though the ship were
no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an
Lay her a-hold, a-hold! set her two courses off to
sea again; lay her off.
Enter Mariners wet
All lost! to prayers, to prayers! all lost!
What, must our mouths be cold?
The king and prince at prayers! let's assist them,
For our case is as theirs.
I'm out of patience.
We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards:
This wide-chapp'd rascal--would thou mightst lie drowning
The washing of ten tides!
He'll be hang'd yet,
Though every drop of water swear against it
And gape at widest to glut him.
A confused noise within: 'Mercy on us!'-- 'We split, we split!'--'Farewell, my wife and children!'-- 'Farewell, brother!'--'We split, we split, we split!'
Let's all sink with the king.
Let's take leave of him.
Exeunt ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN
Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an
acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any
thing. The wills above be done! but I would fain
die a dry death.
SCENE II. The island. Before PROSPERO'S cell.
Enter PROSPERO and MIRANDA
If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek,
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel,
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her,
Dash'd all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perish'd.
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere
It should the good ship so have swallow'd and
The fraughting souls within her.
No more amazement: tell your piteous heart
There's no harm done.
O, woe the day!
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
Of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter, who
Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing
Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.
More to know
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand,
And pluck my magic garment from me. So:
Lays down his mantle
Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort.
The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'd
The very virtue of compassion in thee,
I have with such provision in mine art
So safely ordered that there is no soul--
No, not so much perdition as an hair
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit down;
For thou must now know farther.
You have often
Begun to tell me what I am, but stopp'd
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding 'Stay: not yet.'
The hour's now come;
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear;
Obey and be attentive. Canst thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not
Out three years old.
Certainly, sir, I can.
By what? by any other house or person?
Of any thing the image tell me that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
'Tis far off
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?
Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember'st aught ere thou camest here,
How thou camest here thou mayst.
But that I do not.
Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.
Sir, are not you my father?
Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan; and thou his only heir
And princess no worse issued.
O the heavens!
What foul play had we, that we came from thence?
Or blessed was't we did?
Both, both, my girl:
By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heaved thence,
But blessedly holp hither.
O, my heart bleeds
To think o' the teen that I have turn'd you to,
Which is from my remembrance! Please you, farther.
My brother and thy uncle, call'd Antonio--
I pray thee, mark me--that a brother should
Be so perfidious!--he whom next thyself
Of all the world I loved and to him put
The manage of my state; as at that time
Through all the signories it was the first
And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed
In dignity, and for the liberal arts
Without a parallel; those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother
And to my state grew stranger, being transported
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle--
Dost thou attend me?
Sir, most heedfully.
Being once perfected how to grant suits,
How to deny them, who to advance and who
To trash for over-topping, new created
The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed 'em,
Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i' the state
To what tune pleased his ear; that now he was
The ivy which had hid my princely trunk,
And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.
O, good sir, I do.
I pray thee, mark me.
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind
With that which, but by being so retired,
O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awaked an evil nature; and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood in its contrary as great
As my trust was; which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded,
But what my power might else exact, like one
Who having into truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory,
To credit his own lie, he did believe
He was indeed the duke; out o' the substitution
And executing the outward face of royalty,
With all prerogative: hence his ambition growing--
Dost thou hear?
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
To have no screen between this part he play'd
And him he play'd it for, he needs will be
Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties
He thinks me now incapable; confederates--
So dry he was for sway--wi' the King of Naples
To give him annual tribute, do him homage,
Subject his coronet to his crown and bend
The dukedom yet unbow'd--alas, poor Milan!--
To most ignoble stooping.
O the heavens!
Mark his condition and the event; then tell me
If this might be a brother.
I should sin
To think but nobly of my grandmother:
Good wombs have borne bad sons.
Now the condition.
The King of Naples, being an enemy
To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit;
Which was, that he, in lieu o' the premises
Of homage and I know not how much tribute,
Should presently extirpate me and mine
Out of the dukedom and confer fair Milan
With all the honours on my brother: whereon,
A treacherous army levied, one midnight
Fated to the purpose did Antonio open
The gates of Milan, and, i' the dead of darkness,
The ministers for the purpose hurried thence
Me and thy crying self.
Alack, for pity!
I, not remembering how I cried out then,
Will cry it o'er again: it is a hint
That wrings mine eyes to't.
Hear a little further
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon's; without the which this story
Were most impertinent.
Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
Well demanded, wench:
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
So dear the love my people bore me, nor set
A mark so bloody on the business, but
With colours fairer painted their foul ends.
In few, they hurried us aboard a bark,
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepared
A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us, to sigh
To the winds whose pity, sighing back again,
Did us but loving wrong.
Alack, what trouble
Was I then to you!
O, a cherubim
Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile.
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt,
Under my burthen groan'd; which raised in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue.
How came we ashore?
By Providence divine.
Some food we had and some fresh water that
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,
Out of his charity, being then appointed
Master of this design, did give us, with
Rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries,
Which since have steaded much; so, of his gentleness,
Knowing I loved my books, he furnish'd me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.
Would I might
But ever see that man!
Now I arise:
Resumes his mantle
Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow.
Here in this island we arrived; and here
Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit
Than other princesses can that have more time
For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.
Heavens thank you for't! And now, I pray you, sir,
For still 'tis beating in my mind, your reason
For raising this sea-storm?
Know thus far forth.
By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune,
Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies
Brought to this shore; and by my prescience
I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star, whose influence
If now I court not but omit, my fortunes
Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions:
Thou art inclined to sleep; 'tis a good dulness,
And give it way: I know thou canst not choose.
Come away, servant, come. I am ready now.
Approach, my Ariel, come.
All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curl'd clouds, to thy strong bidding task
Ariel and all his quality.
Hast thou, spirit,
Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee?
To every article.
I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I'ld divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove's lightnings, the precursors
O' the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dread trident shake.
My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?
Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mad and play'd
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,
Then all afire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring,--then like reeds, not hair,--
Was the first man that leap'd; cried, 'Hell is empty
And all the devils are here.'
Why that's my spirit!
But was not this nigh shore?
Close by, my master.
But are they, Ariel, safe?
Not a hair perish'd;
On their sustaining garments not a blemish,
But fresher than before: and, as thou badest me,
In troops I have dispersed them 'bout the isle.
The king's son have I landed by himself;
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs
In an odd angle of the isle and sitting,
His arms in this sad knot.
Of the king's ship
The mariners say how thou hast disposed
And all the rest o' the fleet.
Safely in harbour
Is the king's ship; in the deep nook, where once
Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still-vex'd Bermoothes, there she's hid:
The mariners all under hatches stow'd;
Who, with a charm join'd to their suffer'd labour,
I have left asleep; and for the rest o' the fleet
Which I dispersed, they all have met again
And are upon the Mediterranean flote,
Bound sadly home for Naples,
Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd
And his great person perish.
Ariel, thy charge
Exactly is perform'd: but there's more work.
What is the time o' the day?
Past the mid season.
At least two glasses. The time 'twixt six and now
Must by us both be spent most preciously.
Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains,
Let me remember thee what thou hast promised,
Which is not yet perform'd me.
How now? moody?
What is't thou canst demand?
Before the time be out? no more!
Remember I have done thee worthy service;
Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, served
Without or grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise
To bate me a full year.
Dost thou forget
From what a torment I did free thee?
Thou dost, and think'st it much to tread the ooze
Of the salt deep,
To run upon the sharp wind of the north,
To do me business in the veins o' the earth
When it is baked with frost.
I do not, sir.
Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot
The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy
Was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?
Thou hast. Where was she born? speak; tell me.
Sir, in Argier.
O, was she so? I must
Once in a month recount what thou hast been,
Which thou forget'st. This damn'd witch Sycorax,
For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible
To enter human hearing, from Argier,
Thou know'st, was banish'd: for one thing she did
They would not take her life. Is not this true?
This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child
And here was left by the sailors. Thou, my slave,
As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant;
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,
By help of her more potent ministers
And in her most unmitigable rage,
Into a cloven pine; within which rift
Imprison'd thou didst painfully remain
A dozen years; within which space she died
And left thee there; where thou didst vent thy groans
As fast as mill-wheels strike. Then was this island--
Save for the son that she did litter here,
A freckled whelp hag-born--not honour'd with
A human shape.
Yes, Caliban her son.
Dull thing, I say so; he, that Caliban
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st
What torment I did find thee in; thy groans
Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts
Of ever angry bears: it was a torment
To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax
Could not again undo: it was mine art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.
I thank thee, master.
If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak
And peg thee in his knotty entrails till
Thou hast howl'd away twelve winters.
I will be correspondent to command
And do my spiriting gently.
Do so, and after two days
I will discharge thee.
That's my noble master!
What shall I do? say what; what shall I do?
Go make thyself like a nymph o' the sea: be subject
To no sight but thine and mine, invisible
To every eyeball else. Go take this shape
And hither come in't: go, hence with diligence!
Awake, dear heart, awake! thou hast slept well; Awake!
The strangeness of your story put
Heaviness in me.
Shake it off. Come on;
We'll visit Caliban my slave, who never
Yields us kind answer.
'Tis a villain, sir,
I do not love to look on.
But, as 'tis,
We cannot miss him: he does make our fire,
Fetch in our wood and serves in offices
That profit us. What, ho! slave! Caliban!
Thou earth, thou! speak.
[Within] There's wood enough within.
Come forth, I say! there's other business for thee:
Come, thou tortoise! when?
Re-enter ARIEL like a water-nymph
Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,
Hark in thine ear.
My lord it shall be done.
Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself
Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!
As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye
And blister you all o'er!
For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made 'em.
I must eat my dinner.
This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o' the island.
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.
O ho, O ho! would't had been done!
Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else
This isle with Calibans.
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.
You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!
Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, thou'rt best,
To answer other business. Shrug'st thou, malice?
If thou neglect'st or dost unwillingly
What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps,
Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar
That beasts shall tremble at thy din.
No, pray thee.
I must obey: his art is of such power,
It would control my dam's god, Setebos,
and make a vassal of him.
So, slave; hence!
Re-enter ARIEL, invisible, playing and singing; FERDINAND following
Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands:
Courtsied when you have and kiss'd
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
Burthen [dispersedly, within
The watch-dogs bark!
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
Where should this music be? i' the air or the earth?
It sounds no more: and sure, it waits upon
Some god o' the island. Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air: thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather. But 'tis gone.
No, it begins again.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Hark! now I hear them,--Ding-dong, bell.
The ditty does remember my drown'd father.
This is no mortal business, nor no sound
That the earth owes. I hear it now above me.
The fringed curtains of thine eye advance
And say what thou seest yond.
What is't? a spirit?
Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir,
It carries a brave form. But 'tis a spirit.
No, wench; it eats and sleeps and hath such senses
As we have, such. This gallant which thou seest
Was in the wreck; and, but he's something stain'd
With grief that's beauty's canker, thou mightst call him
A goodly person: he hath lost his fellows
And strays about to find 'em.
I might call him
A thing divine, for nothing natural
I ever saw so noble.
[Aside] It goes on, I see,
As my soul prompts it. Spirit, fine spirit! I'll free thee
Within two days for this.
Most sure, the goddess
On whom these airs attend! Vouchsafe my prayer
May know if you remain upon this island;
And that you will some good instruction give
How I may bear me here: my prime request,
Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder!
If you be maid or no?
No wonder, sir;
But certainly a maid.
My language! heavens!
I am the best of them that speak this speech,
Were I but where 'tis spoken.
How? the best?
What wert thou, if the King of Naples heard thee?
A single thing, as I am now, that wonders
To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me;
And that he does I weep: myself am Naples,
Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld
The king my father wreck'd.
Alack, for mercy!
Yes, faith, and all his lords; the Duke of Milan
And his brave son being twain.
[Aside] The Duke of Milan
And his more braver daughter could control thee,
If now 'twere fit to do't. At the first sight
They have changed eyes. Delicate Ariel,
I'll set thee free for this.
A word, good sir;
I fear you have done yourself some wrong: a word.
Why speaks my father so ungently? This
Is the third man that e'er I saw, the first
That e'er I sigh'd for: pity move my father
To be inclined my way!
O, if a virgin,
And your affection not gone forth, I'll make you
The queen of Naples.
Soft, sir! one word more.
They are both in either's powers; but this swift business
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning
Make the prize light.
One word more; I charge thee
That thou attend me: thou dost here usurp
The name thou owest not; and hast put thyself
Upon this island as a spy, to win it
From me, the lord on't.
No, as I am a man.
There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with't.
Speak not you for him; he's a traitor. Come;
I'll manacle thy neck and feet together:
Sea-water shalt thou drink; thy food shall be
The fresh-brook muscles, wither'd roots and husks
Wherein the acorn cradled. Follow.
I will resist such entertainment till
Mine enemy has more power.
Draws, and is charmed from moving
O dear father,
Make not too rash a trial of him, for
He's gentle and not fearful.
What? I say,
My foot my tutor? Put thy sword up, traitor;
Who makest a show but darest not strike, thy conscience
Is so possess'd with guilt: come from thy ward,
For I can here disarm thee with this stick
And make thy weapon drop.
Beseech you, father.
Hence! hang not on my garments.
Sir, have pity;
I'll be his surety.
Silence! one word more
Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What!
An advocate for an imposter! hush!
Thou think'st there is no more such shapes as he,
Having seen but him and Caliban: foolish wench!
To the most of men this is a Caliban
And they to him are angels.
Are then most humble; I have no ambition
To see a goodlier man.
Come on; obey:
Thy nerves are in their infancy again
And have no vigour in them.
So they are;
My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up.
My father's loss, the weakness which I feel,
The wreck of all my friends, nor this man's threats,
To whom I am subdued, are but light to me,
Might I but through my prison once a day
Behold this maid: all corners else o' the earth
Let liberty make use of; space enough
Have I in such a prison.
[Aside] It works.
Thou hast done well, fine Ariel!
Hark what thou else shalt do me.
Be of comfort;
My father's of a better nature, sir,
Than he appears by speech: this is unwonted
Which now came from him.
Thou shalt be free
As mountain winds: but then exactly do
All points of my command.
To the syllable.
Come, follow. Speak not for him.