The Tempest

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ARIEL
(to ALONSO, ANTONIO, and SEBASTIAN )
You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
That hath to instrument this lower world
60And what is in ’t, the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch up you—and on this island
Where man doth not inhabit, you ’mongst men
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad,
And even with suchlike valor men hang and drown
65Their proper selves. (some of the courtiers draw their swords)
    You fools, I and my fellows
Are ministers of fate. The elements
Of whom your swords are tempered may as well
Wound the loud winds or with bemocked-at stabs
Kill the still-closing waters as diminish
70One dowl that’s in my plume. My fellow ministers
Are like invulnerable. If you could hurt,
Your swords are now too massy for your strengths
And will not be uplifted. But remember—
For that’s my business to you—that you three
75From Milan did supplant good Prospero,
Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,
Him and his innocent child. For which foul deed
The powers—delaying, not forgetting—have
Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures,
80Against your peace.—Thee of thy son, Alonso,
They have bereft, and do pronounce by me
Lingering perdition, worse than any death
Can be at once, shall step by step attend
You and your ways; whose wraths to guard you from—
85Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls
Upon your heads—is nothing but hearts' sorrow
And a clear life ensuing.
ARIEL
(to ALONSO, ANTONIO, and SEBASTIAN) The three of you are sinners, and Destiny made the sea belch you up onto this island—where no men live, since none of you deserve to live. I’ve driven you crazy, and many mad people are driven to kill themselves in desperation. (some of the courtiers draw their swords) Listen, you fools, my fellow

harpies

A harpy is a mythological creature with a woman’s face and breasts and the wings and claws of a bird. Shakespeare apparently intended to have Ariel appear together with two other harpies.

harpies
and I carry out Fate’s orders. Your swords are useless against us—you’d be more successful swinging them at the empty air, or stabbing at water, than trying to cut off even one of my feathers. My two companions are just as invulnerable as I am. Even if you had the power to hurt us, you’d find your swords far too heavy to lift. But remember—and it’s my job to remind you of this—that in Milan the three of you stole Prospero’s throne and threw him and his innocent child into the sea, which has now taken revenge on you. To punish you for this horrible crime, the higher powers—delaying their punishment, not forgetting about it—have stirred up the seas and all the creatures of earth against you.—They’ve taken your only son from you, Alonso, and they’ve ordered me to destroy you slowly, in a way worse than sudden death could ever be. I’ll stay with you every step of your way. The only way to protect yourselves from the angry higher powers—which are ready to fall upon your head on this empty island—is for you to be sincerely sorry in your hearts for what you’ve done, and to live innocent lives from this time forward.
ARIEL vanishes in thunder
ARIEL vanishes in thunder.