The Tempest : treacherous plot by Antonio in Act 2 Scene 1

 Treacherous Plot Proposed by Antonio:

Question : What treacherous plot is proposed by Antonio? Who frustrates this plot and how ? 


Antonio’s suggesting Alonso to have a Sleep: 

Ariel appears invisibly at the place where Alonso and the others have been talking among themselves. Ariel comes here in accordance with his master Prospero’s instructions. By the power of his music, Ariel now sends all the lords, with the exception of Antonio and Sebastian, to sleep. Alonso is still awake and he feels surprised that most of his lords have suddenly fallen asleep. 

    Sebastian suggests to Alonso that the latter should go to sleep in order to rest his mind and body. Antonio thereupon says that he and Sebastian would stand guard while Alonso takes rest. 

   Antonio Sowing Seeds of Treason 

in Sebastian’s Mind: 

  Accordingly, Alonso also goes to sleep. Ariel then leaves. Antonio now sows the seeds of rebellion and treason in Sebastian’s mind. He insidiously suggests that Sebastian has a bright future before him, and that Sebastian can rise very high in life provided he takes necessary steps in that direction.

     Sebastian understands what Antonio means to say. Then Antonio makes his meaning more clear though he still speaks in a veiled and indirect manner.

    Antonio says that Alonso’s heir to the throne was Ferdinand who was surely perished during the storm, and that the next heir is Claribel who is now living in far-off land of Tunis and who can never know what is going on in her native Naples.

    What Antonio means is that, if Sebastian agrees to murder  of Alonso at the same time when Alonso is asleep, Sebastian can become the King of Naples because Sebastian would then be regarded as a legitimate claimant to the throne.

    Sebastian says that Antonio had himself previously overthrew his brother Prospero and take possession of the dukedom of Milan.

    Antonio answers him that his conscience never bothers him. He had only done the right thing and that he is now enjoying the fruits of his action in having driven away Prospero from Milan.

   ” Sebastian: I remember

          You did supplant brother Prospero

Antonio:  True

   And look how well my garments sit upon me

   Much feater than before;  my brother’s servants

   Were then my fellow;  now they are my men.”

   Sebastian asks if Antonio’s conscience does not prick him. Antonio replies that, even if he had twenty consciences they would not have prevented him from getting rid of Prospero and becoming the Duke of Milan in his place. 

 “Sebastian : But for your conscience

  Antonio:  Ay, sir, where lies that? If’t were a kibe,

  ‘T would put me to my bosom : twenty conscience

   That stand ‘twixt me and Milan, Candied be they

 And melt, ere they molest ! “

   Sebastian now fully convinced of the argument put forward by Antonio who now says further that, when Sebastian kills the sleeping Alonso, he ( Antonio)  would at that moment murder the sleeping Gonzalo because Gonzalo is the only lord who can afterward protest against the murder of Alonso. 

  “Antonio:  Draw together ;

        And when I rear my hand, do you the like,

       To fall it on Gonzalo”.


Ariel’s Frustrating the Plot Against Alonso’s life :

   Sebastian and Antonio then get ready to carry out their plan. Just at this time Ariel reappears in the same invisible shape. He overhears the treacherous plan hatched by Antonio and Sebastian against Alonso and Gonzalo. 

      Ariel, in an aside, reveals that his master Prospero has already come to know by his magic the danger which threatens Gonzalo who had been Prospero’s well – wisher. He feels that he has therefore sent him to preserve the lives of both Gonzalo and Alonso. 

    Just when Sebastian and Antonio had drawn their sword to murder Alonso and Gonzalo, Ariel begins to sing in Gonzalo’s ear to awakens him. Gonzalo suddenly wakes up and seeing Sebastian and Antonio with their swords drawn, shouts to awake Alonso. Alonso wakes up and asks what the matter is – 

  ” Gonzalo:  (waking)  Now, good angels 

          Preserve the king ? 

  Why, how now ? ho;  awake ? Why are you drawn ?

     Wherefore this ghastly looking ?

   Alonso:  What’s the matter, “

   Sebastian and Antonio say that they had drawn their swords to attack the beasts whose roaring they had heard. They say that they had heard a roaring which seemed to be that of bulls or lions and that it had also appeared as if those wild animals would be rushing in this direction.

     Alonso and Gonzalo accept this explanation because they do not know the reality of that situation and because no suspicion has arisen in their minds about the two men. 

    This way Ariel is able to foil the evil plot of the two villains.

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