Act 1 scene 2
Miranda is upset, having watched the storm engulf the ship just offshore. She describes the ship as ‘a brave vessel / Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her, / Dashed all to pieces!’ She asks her father, the sorcerer Prospero, to calm the storm if he can. Prospero reassures her, saying ‘There’s no harm done’. He then tells her the story of how they ended up on the island. He explains ‘Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and / A prince of power’ until his brother Antonio, ‘thy false uncle’ betrayed him. Antonio, with the help of Alonso, King of Naples, had Prospero and Miranda captured at night and put into an old boat. They were given some provisions by ‘A noble Neopolitan, Gonzalo’ and cast adrift. Eventually, ‘By providence divine’, they washed up on the shores of the island.
Prospero then uses his magic to put Miranda to sleep and calls to his spirit servant Ariel. Ariel describes how he created the storm and that the ship is now ‘Safely in harbour’ and everyone on board is safe. Prospero is pleased but tells Ariel ‘there’s more work’. Ariel objects and Prospero threatens him but he also promises the spirit his freedom ‘after two days’ if he obeys.
Ariel leaves. Prospero wakes Miranda and takes her to see Caliban, ‘my slave’. She is reluctant, ‘Tis a villain, sir, / I do not love to look on’, but Prospero insists. Caliban calls curses at them and complains that although he helped them find food and water when they first arrived on the island, ‘here you sty me / In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me / The rest o’th’island’. Prospero calls him a 'lying slave’ and says they cannot trust him because he tried to force Miranda to sleep with him. He sends Caliban away, saying ‘Hag-seed, hence! / Fetch us in fuel, and be quick’ and Caliban leaves grumbling ‘I must obey. His art is of such power’.
Ariel sings, ‘Come unto these yellow sands’, magically leading Ferdinand. Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love at first sight, ‘At the first sight / They have changed eyes’. Prospero pretends to be angry, telling the audience, ‘I must uneasy make lest too light winning / Make the prize light’. He uses his magic to imprison Ferdinand and Ferdinand submits to Prospero’s powers hoping, ‘Might I but through my prison once a day / Behold this maid’.