Dramatic significance of Act3 Scene1 of The Tempest

 Dramatic Significance of Act3 Scene1 :

    Question : What is the dramatic significance of Act3 scene1 of The Tempest ?
    Answer :  This quick scene of Act 3 of ‘The Tempest’ shows  courtship between Ferdinand and Miranda as an idealized portrayal of love between two innocents.
       ‘The Tempest’ is a comedy in a sense of falling in love of Miranda and Ferdinand was immediately after they set their eyes on each other. Who can imagine someone proposing as rapidly as these two do, after spending perhaps ten minutes’ time together in their lives ?
       It looks odd, yet it was vital from Shakespeare’s point of view. In this case he wanted to maintain the three unities of classical drama and he could not introduce a prolonged period of courting and yet maintain unity of time as well as of action. 
      The scene is significant as it throws light on the character of Ferdinand. The scene opens up with the entrance of Ferdinand “bearing a log” echoes the entrance of Caliban in Act 2, “with a burden of wood”. Each received a similar task, but each goes about it quite differently.

     Ferdinand who is asked to fetch wood from different places, resists in the beginning, but this quickly changes into meek submission. This is done to show his love for Miranda. The heir apparent to throne of Naples, happily submits himself to the most menial of work to prove his love. It is necessary for Ferdinand to show discipline, hard work and sacrifice as his character traits to convince Prospero to give his daughter in marriage to him.

    The scene also reveals Miranda’s true character. Miranda feels very sympathetic towards Ferdinand  as she sees him working so hard. She asks him to sit down and take some rest because her father is at this time very busy in studying his books and would therefore not come here to scold him. She offers to share his labour, but Ferdinand does not accept it.

     Miranda has nothing to do with social convention and false modesty. She acts naturally impulsively. When Ferdinand describes her beauty and grace, she responds to him in a speech which clearly shows the fervour  of her love for him. She swears by her modesty, which is her most precious treasure, that she does not desire any companion other than he, and that her imagination can not create any figure more attractive than his. 

    “But my modesty

The jewel in may dowar, I would not wish

Any companion in the world but you; 

Nor can imagination from a shape,

Besides yourself, to like of.”

     The scene reveals Miranda’s simplicity and innocence. When Ferdinand tells her that he loves her, honours her and values her than anything else in the world, she is so moved that tears begin to flow from her eyes. On being asked by him why she is weeping, she says that she is weeping at her own worthiness because she does not offer what she wants to give him and because she can not take from him what she craves for.

   Miranda prompted by “plain and holy innocence”, says that her modesty does not allow her to speak frankly about her love for him, and therefore she now dismisses the demand of her modesty and proceeds to speak in candid terms that she wants to be his wife or his maid if he will not marry her. 

   “I am your wife if you will marry me;

    I not, I’ll die your maid; to be your fellow

   You may deny me; but I’ll be your servant; 

   Whether you will or not.”

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