Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban are all reeling drunk. Stephano, already dreaming of the lordship of the island, declared Caliban to be his lieutenant. Caliban, helplessly muddled With drink, offers to lick his shoe; but he never for moment forgets the thought of revenge upon Prospero. In the mean time Caliban and Trinculo, each being unable to stand the other, fall out and Stephano has to intervene. While Caliban has been complaining of the tyranny of Prospero, and inciting Stephano against Prospero, Ariel invisible repeats : “Thou liest” both to Caliban and Stephano as they speak of Prospero, and thus sets Stephano and Caliban against Trinculo, for they suppose that Trinculo is contradicting them. At last Trinculo moves father off from them. Caliban sets forth his plan of revenge upon Prospero, which as he point out, is very simple to execute, for while Prospero, will sleep in the afternoon as his custom is, they will first seize his books of magic and then batter his skull with a log, or run through his belly with a stake or cut his throat with a knife. Caliban suggests Stephano to seize, Prospero’s books first so that he will be without the spirits to command. Caliban promises, as a further inducement to Stephano, Prospero’s daughter as his queen over and above the dominion of the island. Stephano now makes up with Trinculo and all the three are agreed to carry out the plot against Prospero. Stephano breaks out into a drinking-song at the request of Caliban; it is soon followed by aerial music played to the same tune by Ariel. Stephano and Trinculo are a little startled, but Caliban assures them that it is nothing, and that aerial voices, sometimes accompanied by instrumental music, are but a common experience of his on the island.
Critical Comments :
The conspiracy, ormed by Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo against Prospero, is a ounter-part of the conspiracy formed by Antonio and Sebastian against Alonso. It will also fail as the conspiracy against Alonso failed, and that because of the magic and supernatural means or agency, employed by Prospero. It may be noted that the Caliban-Trinculo-Stephano episode has a comic setting here as in a previous scene; and we easily foresee how it will all end in a farce, and so the recital of Caliban’s plan or revenge does not make out flesh creep.
To sum up :
(1) The conspiracy against Prospero, which appears, from the character of its originators (i.e., three drunkards) to be nothing but a comic interlude.
(2) Prospero’s judgment about Caliban:
Which any print of goodness will not take. Being capable of all ill! “
is confirmed in this scene.