The play begins in Milan, were Prospero, the Duke is buried among the parchments of his library, studying the magical arts. His brother Antonio, however, feels that what Milan needs is not a wizard but a decent Duke, and Antonio thinks he knows just who that should be.
PROSPERO, Duke of Milan, a keen student of spells and enchantments, was so wrapped up in his books of lore that his brother Antonio thought the duchy would be better in other hands. So he conspired with Alonso, King of Naples, to have Prospero and his three-year-old daughter Miranda taken out to sea, and set adrift.
Fortunately, Prospero and little Miranda landed safely on a remote island; and fortunately, it was not entirely uninhabited. A miserable creature named Caliban, whose mother Sycorax had once held the island under her spells, still lived there, and grudgingly he helped Prospero and Miranda to settle.
Twelve years passed. Then one day, a tremendous storm lashed the island, summoned up by Prospero with the aid of Ariel, a spirit he had released from Sycorax’s enchantments. This great tempest had one purpose: his brother Antonio, with King Alonso and Alonso’s son Ferdinand, were all nearby in a ship, and Prospero meant to bring them ashore.