The isle is indeed, as Caliban says, “full of noises” (. 130 ). The play begins with a “tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning” (. 1 , stage direction), and the splitting of the ship is signaled in part by “a confused noise within” (. 54 , stage direction). Much of the noise of the play is musical, and much of the music is Ariel’s. Ferdinand is led to Miranda by Ariel’s music. Ariel’s music also wakes Gonzalo just as Antonio and Sebastian are about to kill Alonso in Act II, scene i. Moreover, the magical banquet of Act III, scene iii is laid out to the tune of “Solemn and strange music” (. 18 , stage direction), and Juno and Ceres sing in the wedding masque (. 106–117 ).
A story of shipwreck and magic, The Tempest begins on a ship caught in a violent storm with Alonso, the king of Naples, on board. On a nearby island, the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero, tells his daughter, Miranda, that he has caused the storm with his magical powers. Prospero had been banished twelve years earlier when Prospero’s brother, Antonio—also on the doomed ship—conspired with Alonso to become the duke instead. Prospero and Miranda are served by a spirit named Ariel and by Caliban, son of the island’s previous inhabitant, the witch Sycorax.
He’d made the same deal on “Pan’s Labyrinth” a decade earlier and stresses that both projects took him years to develop. “The only real money I made on ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ was when I sold the apartment I had bought in Madrid. Although [the studio] returned my salary just before the Oscar ceremony,” he says. “The way I see money at 52, my kids are adults basically, I dress like s—, I drive a four-year-old car, I have all the rubber monsters that I need. You don’t make these movies to buy a ranch in Santa Fe; you make these movies to tell a story. It’s not that I came out flat on this movie; I invested. And I invested in a story that I think of as an antidote to the times we’re living in. Everything is so sordid and horrible right now, but this movie is not shy about talking about love and beauty and the good things in life.”