The Tempest by W.Shakespeare (1611) Act 1, Scene 1

This passage is the opening scene in 'The Tempest' by W.Shakespeare.
It starts with claps of thunder, bolts of lightning, the sound of howling seas and human cries to suggest a terrible storm at sea.
On board the ship there is the king of Naples, Alonso, his son and his Court, Antonio, Duke of Milan and Gonzalo.
The Boatswain is doing his best to save the ship and the passengers' lives but his work is made difficult by the presence of some passengers on the deck.
Alonso and Antonio insult the Boatswain and by doing it they show their fear, while Gonzalo seems to trust him and his skills.
Panic spreads when the mariners get to the deck all wet and crying that everything is lost, the ship is splitting and they are going to sink.
This scene is an example of how clever Shakespeare was at dealing with the language. At the time, there was no scenery, no special effects and playwrights could rely only on what the characters did and said on the stage. The scene is made realistic by the shouting, the exclamations and the frantic work of the Boatswain.

The audience come to know about the identity of Alonso, the king of Naples, only when some mariners enter wet and crying that everything is lost. His presence introduces another theme, i.e., the challenge to traditional authority. The Boatswain says he will do his best to save the boat and its passengers, no matter who is on board. 'What cares these roarers for the name of King?' he asks Gonzalo. It means that those in power have no authority upon natural phenomena and social hierarchies are unimportant in the face of nature's wrath.
The noble passengers are the first to panic when the boat seems to be splitting up; Ferdinand is the first who jumps overboard and so do his companions. The Boatswain and the mariners stay on board and by doing that they show their courage and determination, thus suggesting to us that bravery does not depend on titles.

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