Write a brief account of the course of the love-affair between Ferdinand and Miranda.
How are Ferdinand and Miranda united in marriage in The Tempest ?
The tempest caused by Prospero: Prospero lives with his daughter Miranda on an island where he took refuge after having been driven out of his dukedom. By his magic power Prospero causes a storm on the sea as a result of which a ship canying King Alonso and others gets wrecked. The cries and the groans of those on board the ship pierce Miranda’s heart which overflows with pity for the passengers. Prospero explains to her that no harm has been done to anyone. He informs her that whatever he has done was done for her sake. He then proceeds to narrate the story of the misfortunes which he and she had undergone. He also tells her that the ship and .all its passengers are perfectly safe.
Love at first sight: Acting under the instructions of Prospero, Ariel sings a sweet song by means of which he is able to lure Ferdinand towards Prospero’s dwelling-place. Ferdinand is astonished by the strange, supernatural song which has brought him here. But Ferdinand is even more astonished to see Miranda before him. He thinks her a goddess of this island. They both fall in love with each other at first sight. And such was the intention of Prospero. Miranda had never seen a human being before, besides her father, in all her life. She is, therefore, fascinated by the appearance of Ferdinand. Ferdinand tells her that, as a result of the death of his father by drowning, he is now the next King of Naples. He is, of course, unaware that his father is yet alive. Prospero does not want that Ferdinand should be able to win Miranda too easily. A prize which is easily won is generally not valued sufficiently. He, therefore, adopts a harsh posture towards Ferdinand. He accuses Ferdinand of telling lies and threatens to punish him. Miranda pleads on behalf of him but is rebuked by her father. Ferdinand says that he does not mind any punishment if he can catch a glimpse of Miranda once everyday. Miranda tries to console Ferdinand by saying that her father is not really so cruel as he seems to be. We already know that Prospero’s stemness towards Ferdinand is a mere pose. In actual fact, Prospero wishes to bring about a union of these two young people.
A prince carrying logs: In order to test Ferdinand’s love for Miranda, Prospero imposes a hard task upon Ferdinand. Prospero orders Ferdinand to carry logs of wood from the forest and to pile them together at a certain place. The labour of carrying the logs is very tiring and taxing. Besides, this manual labour is humiliating and degrading to a prince. But Ferdinand performs his labour cheerfully. This labour makes it possible for him to remain near Miranda. Miranda’s sympathy for Ferdinand in this state is very encouraging to him.
Declarations of love: Miranda has fallen deeply in love with Ferdinand. She cannot bear to see him toiling so hard. She offers to share his labour so that he might get some rest, but he does not allow her to do this menial work. He tells her that he does not mind doing all this labour as long as she remains near him. He pays a glowing tribute to her beauty and virtue. He calls her a perfect and peerless woman. He tells her that he has seen many lovely and talented women, but none like her. Miranda says that she has never seen the face of any other woman in her life nor the face of any other man, besides her own father. But she would not wish for any companion in her life except Ferdinand. She is over head and ears in love with him. She asks him if he loves her. He replies that he loves, values, and honours her beyond all limits. Miranda weeps with joy to hear this. She says that she would either become his wife or not marry at all. In case he refuses to many her, she would become his life-long servant. But Ferdinand assures her that she is his dearest mistress, and promises to become her husband. Prospero has invisibly overheard this amorous conversation between the young lovers. He feels very happy at the shape which things are taking.
Prospero’s consent to the marriage: Prospero is now fully satisfied about the genuineness and depth of Ferdinand’s love for Miranda. He has also seen the ovem-helming passion of Miranda for Ferdinand. He, therefore, explains to Ferdinand that the labour of carrying logs was only mean as a test of Ferdinand’s love. ’Prospero now offers Miranda to Ferdinand and says that in due course they would get married. He, however, urges Ferdinand not to seek the gratification of his passion before the proper time. The proper time will come when the holy rites and ceremonies of marriage have been performed. Ferdinand gives a solemn promise that he will not allow his lust to overcome his sense of honour.
The masque arranged by Prospero: Prospero then commands Ariel to bring before him all the Spirits over whom Ariel has control. Prospero would like to show to Ferdinand and Miranda a specimen of his supernatural art. Prospero arranges, by his magic, a masque in honour of the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda. Various Spirits appear in the guise of various goddesses and deities. The iirst to appear is Iris. Iris makes a long speech calling upon Ceres (Mother-Earth) to come and shower her blessings upon the young couple who are to be married. After a while Juno appears. She blesses the young lovers with honour, wealth, married happiness, etc. Ceres blesses them with the fertility of the soil, rich crops, trees laden with fruits, and so on. Ferdinand is enchanted with the whole show. Prospero informs him that the characters in the masque are Spirits summoned by his magic. Then he explains that the whole show was an illusion. In fact, says prospero, the whole of this world is an illusion and human life is just a passing dream.
Happy ending: Subsequently, Prospero takes Alonso and others to his cell where they all find Ferdinand alive and safe. Alonso is surprised and delighted to see his son safe and sound. Alonso feels still more happy on learning that the girl in Ferdinand’s company is no other than Prospero’s daughter whom Ferdinand will marry.