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In act four, a wedding masque serves as a play-within-the play, and contributes spectacle, allegory, and elevated language.
The masque is suddenly interrupted when Prospero realizes he had forgotten the plot against his life. Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano are chased off into the swamps by goblins in the shape of hounds.
Prospero vows that once he achieves his goals, he will set Ariel free, and abandon his magic, saying: Ariel brings on Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian.
The Tempest begins with the spectacle of a storm-tossed ship at sea, and later there is a second spectacle—the masque.
A masque in Renaissance England was a festive courtly entertainment that offered music, dance, elaborate sets, costumes, and drama.
But the storm is a magical creation carried out by the spirit Ariel, and caused by the magic of Prospero, who was the Duke of Milan, before his dukedom was usurped and taken from him by his brother Antonio (aided by Alonso, the King of Naples).
That was twelve years ago, when he and his young daughter, Miranda, were set adrift on the sea, and eventually stranded on an island.This marriage will secure Prospero’s position by securing his legacy.The chastity of the bride is considered essential and greatly valued in royal lineages.Often a masque would begin with an "anti-masque", that showed a disordered scene of satyrs, for example, singing and dancing wildly.The anti-masque would then be dramatically dispersed by the spectacular arrival of the masque proper in a demonstration of chaos and vice being swept away by glorious civilization.The play contains music and songs that evoke the spirit of enchantment on the island.It explores many themes including magic, betrayal, revenge, and family.It was also understood by James, king when The Tempest was first produced, as he arranged political marriages for his grandchildren.What could possibly go wrong with Prospero’s plans for his daughter is nature: The fact that Miranda is a young woman who has just arrived at a time in her life when natural attractions among young people become powerful.Stephano and Trinculo are ridiculed and sent away in shame by Prospero.Before the reunited group (all the noble characters plus Miranda and Prospero) leaves the island, Ariel is told to provide good weather to guide the king's ship back to the royal fleet and then to Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will be married. In the epilogue, Prospero requests that the audience set him free—with their applause.