Study Guide

The Tempest Act 3, Scene 1

By William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 1

  • Near Prospero's cell, Ferdinand collects firewood, and philosophizes that it isn't so bad to do such terrible work, because he is refreshed by the thought of his young, virginal, sweet, would-be wife, Miranda. She conveniently enters, and Prospero, being the overbearing father that he is, spies on them.
  • Miranda begs Ferdinand to take a break, and even offers to do his work for a while. Ferdinand refuses, and takes the opportunity to ask a very important question, namely, what his promised wife's name is. Seriously.
  • Moving briskly along, Miranda tells Ferdinand her name, which she promised her father she wouldn't do. The two briefly share their experiences: He's known lots of women (we're not sure if he's known all of them, or just has chatted them up a couple of times at the corner Starbucks), and still likes Miranda best. Miranda has known no men, but likes Ferdinand best.
  • They declare their mutual love of each other and now that all the tricky formalities like knowing each other's names are out of the way, they promise to be husband and wife.
  • Prospero, watching all of this, rejoices.