Ferdinand and Miranda : Ferdinand is partly reconciled to the task of carrying wood. He is now engaged in good task because of Miranda’s rsympathy with him. The thoughts of Miranda lighten his toil. He is “most busy” in thoughts about Miranda when he is least occupied’ with his task. Miranda comes to him while he is working, and Prospero watches them from a distance’. She prays him to rest a While and wishes that the lightning had burnt up all the logs, and attributing to them the sympathy that she feels for Ferdinand, imagines that they will weep, while they burn for having wearied him. She even offers to carry them herself for him, but Ferdinand would rather crack his sinews and break his back than permit it. He desires to know her name so that he may set it down in his daily prayers, and Miranda lets im know her name, forgetting her father’s command to the contrary. His rapturous praise of Miranda as the very perfection of womanhood is followed by Miranda’s declaring that she cannot desire any other companion or imagine any other human shape that she can cherish in her heart. He then declares his love openly and swears the allegiance of his heart to her. Miranda, prompted by “plain and holy innocence,” wants to be the wife of Ferdinand or his maid if he will not marry her. Ferdinand kneels and offers his hand to her as a pledge of his love and devotion. For part of the time, Prospero has been watching them, unseen from a distance and rejoices at the happy result.
Critical Comments :
The scene is an exquisite love-idyll, the beauty of which is enhanced by the freshness and innocence of Miranda’s sentiments. In relation to the action of the play it may be noted that Prospero’s plan with regard to his daughter’s fortunes is progressing well. The scene has a further interest in the revelation of Miranda’s character. She has nothing to do with social convention, with false modesty or prudery. She speaks and acts from a natural unspoilt impulse. The wooden slavery to which Ferdinand is subject, is a test of the strength of his affection, and also a means of calling forth and strengthening Miranda’s affection for him.
“I would suggest to the reader’s consideration the curious felicity of the scene where Ferdinand and Miranda acknowledge their affection to each other. I mean in the harmonious contrast between a young prince, bred in a court, himself the centre of a sphere of the most artificial civilisation, and a girl, not only without any knowledge of the world and society, but even without previous knowledge of the existence of any created man but her father and Caliban ”Mrs. F. A. Kemble.
To sum up :
(1) The idyllic character of the scene.
(2) The revelation of Miranda’s character.
(3) The progress of Prosphero’s plan.
(4) The key-note of the play-that true freedom consists in service, is struck in the scene Ferdinand and Miranda being each prepared to undertake any drudgery for the other’s sake. ”