Some twelve years before the play opens, Prospero, the Duke of Milan has his title usurped by his brother, Antonio, who in league with Alonso, King of Naples and his brother, Sebastian, effect a coup and put Prospero in a boat with his three year old daughter, Miranda. The boat drifts and eventually they are marooned on an island. With the aid of his books, wherein he has learned great magic, Prospero conquers the inhabitants of the Island-Ariel, a spirit of the air and Caliban, a creature that is the offspring of a witch and the devil. Propitiously, a ship bearing Prospero's enemies passes the island en route to a royal wedding. With the help of Ariel, Prospero creates a tempest that sinks the vessel. A number of people from the royal entourage: Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo (a wise and good old councillor), Francisco and Adrian (two minor lords) are landed on one part of the island, while elsewhere, King Alonso's son, Ferdinand is landed by himself, and on still another part of the island, Stephano and Trinculo are landed, the King's butler and jester. The latter meet up with Caliban and together they plot to murder Prospero-this strand is the comic subplot of the piece and has much drunken, knockabout slapstick humour. Amongst the royal party, Alonso is grieving for his son, Ferdinand, who he presumes dead. Antonio goads Sebastian to kill Alonso and the others, and take the throne of Naples, but this plot, along with that of Caliban and the clowns is thwarted by Prospero with the aid of Ariel. Prospero has a plan of his own, however, to bring together his daughter, Miranda with Alonso's son, Ferdinand. The young couple fall in love at first sight and after many trials (posed by Prospero in order to ascertain their true feelings for each other) they become engaged. Prospero reunites Ferdinand with his father, Alonso and forgives those that wronged him. The boatswain and Master arrive to report the ship is ready to sail for home. Prospero prepares to return with them but first sets free Ariel then gives up his magic to go back with the others and take up his dukedom again.