The Tempest: Novel Summary: Act 4, scene 1
Prospero, sure that his daughter and Ferdinand are in love, tells them that he has been too harsh on Ferdinand and releases him. They are ecstatic at the news, and then Prospero tells them that they can be married. The two lovers are extremely happy, but Prospero warns them not to have sex until the church binds the marriage, because it would bring luck to the marriage. He has Ariel prepare a masque for the lovers in which he brings in other spirits to play the parts. The masque is going splendidly when Prospero remembers that he needs to take care of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo. Prospero sends Ariel off to gather fine clothing, and the spirit brings it back and spreads it over trees and shrubs. The three drunken men come prepared to slay Prospero. Stephano and Trinculo see the attire and are very impressed by it. Wanting it for their own, they delay finding Prospero, whom they think is asleep, to kill him. Caliban warns them but they delay too long. Prospero and Ariel come with a hoard of spirits in the shape of dogs. The dogs chase the men off into the hills and Prospero promises Ariel that his task is almost over, and that soon he will be free.