Storm scene. Alonso, King of Naples, his son Ferdinand, brother Sebastian and Gonzalo, a Councillor, together with Prospero’s brother Antonio, the Duke of Milan, are shipwrecked. Ariel, a spirit of the air and servant to Prospero, the former Duke of Milan and a Wizard, has caused the storm.
Prospero tells his daughter Miranda about their past, and how they were ousted from Milan by Antonio, who became Duke of Milan. Antonio had plotted with Alonso and Sebastian to carry out his evil design. Only thanks to Gonzalo’s help, were they saved. They have been living on the island for 12 years, but the moment has come for Prospero to have his revenge.
Prospero uses his magic to send Miranda to sleep, while he talks to his spirit Ariel. It turns out that Ariel, following Prospero’s instructions, has conjured up the storm.
Prospero wakes Miranda. They must meet Caliban, the only native on the island. Caliban and Prospero hate each other. Prospero, because Caliban has tried to rape Miranda, Caliban, because he believes himself to be King of the island and sees no reason why he should work as a slave to Prospero and Miranda.
Prince Ferdinand is seen wandering alone around the island, where he meets Miranda. It is love at first sight, but Prospero decides he must slow down their relationship, so he accuses Ferdinand of being a traitor and treats him as a slave.

Antonio tries to persuade Alonso’s brother, Sebastian, to kill Alonso and Gonzalo. That way Sebastian would become King of Naples. They are about to strike when Ariel stops them.
Another storm is brewing and Caliban hides under his overcoat. Trinculo, King Alonso’s jester, comes on and creeps under the overcoat, next to Caliban, to shelter from the storm. Stephano, the royal butler, appears and starts examining what looks like a four-legged monster. Having managed to rescue a butt of wine from the ship, the two Neapolitans get drunk. They encourage Caliban to taste the ‘celestial liquor’. To win them over, Caliban offers to show them the food and pure water on the island. He wishes to make Stephano, King of the island and is willing to serve him. The trio exits, singing a freedom song.
Prospero punishes Ferdinand, making him carry logs of wood many hours a day. Miranda approaches. She tells the young man to stop work. Soon after she proposes marriage and he accepts.

Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban plot to kill Prospero, but once again Ariel manages to stop the murder. Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio are wandering around the island, very hungry and thirsty. Prospero asks Ariel and his sprites to conjure up a magnificent banquet. As the royals are about to eat, the banquet disappears.
Ariel, turns himself into a Harpy, and challenges Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio, calling them ‘three men of sin’. They must be punished and will be made mad for their evil doings. Antonio and Sebastian exit, wildly brandishing their swords.

Prospero agrees to Miranda and Ferdinand’s engagement,
Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are wandering around the island, very drunk. Prospero punishes them by getting a pack of fierce dogs to attack them.

Ariel reports to Prospero that all the wrong-doers are now punished, Seeing that his enemies are in his power, Prospero decides to pardon them. He will give up his magic and return to his role as Duke of Milan.
Prospero draws a magic circle and challenges each of his enemies to repent for what they have done. Only Antonio remains silent and unrepentant.
Prospero decides to reunite Alonso with his lost son. Alonso is overjoyed to be reunited with Ferdinand, declaring that the thrones of Milan and Naples will therefore be united, thanks the marriage of the young couple. All, except Caliban and Ariel, will now go to Naples for the royal marriage. Prospero says that after the marriage, he will return to Milan, ‘where every third thought will be my grave.