Who is Ariel – Act 1 scene 2 The Tempest ISC Question Answers

Introduction of Ariel:  The Tempest 

Question : Who is Ariel ? What does he report to Prospero?

Answer : Ariel is a Hebrew word, meaning altar or the spirit of God. He is an airy spirit. 

     It is rather difficult for us to imagine, Ariel of the play  as a man instead of a woman when we think of his lightful lightfulness and gracefulness, his yielding nature and his fairy – like qualities, but his delight in harsh work, rough and ready treatment of his victims, and trickery is more natural in males. When artists attempt to picture him in  “The Tempest”, they make him look feminine rather than masculine.

     He was the servant  of the witch Sycorax, in Algiers, accompanied her to the island twenty four years before the story, refused to obey her commands. Hence he was imprisoned by her in the cleft of pine tree, and left in that predecament  when she died. Prospero by his knowledge of magic, released him, but forced him to serve him (Prospero) ,on pain of being imprisoned in a much harder oak tree if he disobeyed. The twelve years of servitude, probably with little to keep him employed, became vexatious, and he complains bitterly at the opening of the story, demanding to be set free.

       Prospero gets angry and rejects his plea. He reminds Ariel how he saved him (Ariel) from his imprisonment in the cleft of the pine tree. 

    We find Ariel resentful over the loss of his freedom and the threat of oak tree hanging over him, when he first appear to Prospero. But he grows calm as his master praises him and promises that his freedom is near. He is always eager for praise and whenever he reports what he has done, he must be told that it was done well.  

    In the opening scene, it was Ariel who caused flashes of lightning  and clouds and raised a storm on the instructions  of  Prospero. He tells Prospero that all the passengers on the board of the ship jumped into the sea when they were sure that the ship was about to sink. Ferdinand, King Alonso’s son had landed on the island safely. All the other passengers were safe. Alonso, the King of Naples, his brother Sebastian, Antonio – Prospero’s brother and Gonzalo are together on onempart of the island, while others are stranded elsewhere. 


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