William Shakespeare's The Tempest Act One, Scene One

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William Shakespeare's The Tempest Act One, Scene One

This scene introduces the play, and is set during on a ship during a ferocious storm. The passengers are the royal party of the King of Naples, and include the King Alonso, his brother Sebastian, the Prince Ferdinand, and the King's counsellors, Gonzalo and Antonio.

The storm, which begins the play, isn't real, but has been conjured by Prospero, a magus, to lure the passengers to his island. This storm is also representation of the metaphorical storm which involves the tumultuous emotions of the play's characters as it continues. The island where Prospero lives is used by Shakespeare as it is completely isolated, and so any action which takes
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The constant use of nautical terminology in this scene - "cabin", "drowning mark", "topsail", serve to remind the audience of where the action is taking place, and also add to the drama and sense of urgency in the scene.

Gonzalo gives an indication of his characters as it will be revealed later in the plot as he placates the boatswain, showing he values respect and order, and exerts a calming, caring influence over the King, as continued on his next line, with the use of the word "thou", a more formal and respectful term than 'you', which the boatswain uses. This calm goodness is in direct contrast to the selfish, egoistical nature of two other members of the royal party, Sebastian and Antonio, who venture out from the cabin again only to get in the way and hurl abuse at the boatswain, cursing him "a pox o'your throat", calling him a "bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog", and a "whoreson insolent noise maker", revealing their base and crude natures, their reactions showing their lack of respect for authority, as reflected later in the play by their unwillingness to repent for the trouble and pain they have wrought on Prospero and his daughter Miranda.

The entrance of the mariners "wet" shows the worsening of the storm; it is