Quotes or quotations are phrases, sentences, lines taken from a literary work. They often represent some universal truths and themes of a story, play, or poem. These quotes express universal truths or situations. The Tempest by William Shakespeare has quotes expressing various universal truths and common situations. Some of the representative quotes from The Tempest have been explained below.
Quotes in The Tempest
Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough.
Act -I, Scene -II
Prospero speaks these lines in response to Miranda, his daughter. He states that as a poor man, his library is enough for him. When Antonio takes over his dukedom, Prospero is left with nothing but books as his treasure. Here the quote means that the real treasure is in learning.
You taught me language, and my profit on ‘t
Is I know how to curse.
The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!
Act-I, Scene -II
Caliban is speaking these lines in anger. He uses expletives against Prospero for trying to refine him and for teaching him ‘English’ or ‘Prospero’s language’ He loses his temper when he is rebuked for being ungrateful. He responds that as they have taught him language and knowledge and now they should bear the brunt of it. He is cursing them that they may catch the red plague and leave him. These lines show his extreme hatred and foreshadow his plot to hurt Prospero and Miranda.
Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the King my father’s wrack,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air.
Act -I, Scene -II
Ferdinand is sitting on the seashore when he hears Ariel singing. He begins to weep at the loss of his father after the shipwreck. He thinks that this music is so sweet that it has eased his feelings of sorrow as well as the anger of the waves. Unknown to Ferdinand, Ariel uses enchantment to take him to Prospero or to calm his anguish.
I’ th’ commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things, for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all.
Act -II, Scene -I
Gonzalo speaks these lines occur in the speech given in the first scene of the second act. It depicts an ideal society where there would be nothing called rules or such things. There would be no wealth, no poverty, no sense of private property, no wine, and no metal. In fact, he sees that all people would be living an equal and ideal as well as idle life in his kingdom. This is a sort of utopia that Gonzalo pictures in his mind.
Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Act -III, Scene -II
Caliban speaks to Trinculo and Stephano when they are frightened. They hear music and strange noises since their arrival on the island. He argues that these sounds make them happy as they see that some living creatures. Here, Caliban tells about the magic on the island and asks them not to be afraid.
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Act -IV, Scene -I
Prospero speaks to Ferdinand to show his disappointment over the end of the performance. He states that a stage play is like real life where nothing is left behind. The last lines that we are made as if of dreams and these dreams evaporate in the air seem true. He argues that everything is temporary, and nothing is permanent.
Look thou be true; do not give dalliance
Too much the rein. The strongest oaths are straw
To th’ fire i’ th’ blood.
Act -IV, Scene -I
Prospero is warning to Ferdinand that self-control is of prime importance in marriage. He tells him that he should not take more oaths as they are weak when it comes to controlling the passions of the body. Therefore, he should be careful when he is with Miranda.
The rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance.
Act -V, Scene -I
Prospero says these lines as he has gathers everyone on the island to exact revenge. However, he holds himself back and chooses to forgive them. He speaks these lines to show that this act of sparing the person when he can easily kill them or hurt them. According to Prospero, forgiveness, or a rare act of kindness is a great virtue and better than vengeance.
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O, brave new world
That has such people in ‘t.
Act -V, Scene -I
Miranda address to the people on the ship when she comes to meet them. She has only been with her father, Caliban, and a supernatural creature, Ariel. These lines show that she has never met any human being except them. When she sees others she instantly becomes overawed saying she has not seen too much godly creature in this way. She wonders how beautiful humans are and how this world is good. The above line expresses her surprise and delight.
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please.
Prospero is addressing the audience, asking them to set him free. He tells them that most people, especially his enemies, were seeking forgiveness. Hence, with their appreciation and applause, Prospero leaves the stage.