The masque is suddenly interrupted when Prospero realizes he had forgotten the plot against his life. Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano are chased off into the swamps by goblins in the shape of hounds.Prospero vows that once he achieves his goals, he will set Ariel free, and abandon his magic, saying: Ariel brings on Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian.Prospero plots to reverse what was done to him twelve years ago, and regain his office.
In act four, a wedding masque serves as a play-within-the play, and contributes spectacle, allegory, and elevated language.
Though The Tempest is listed in the First Folio as the first of Shakespeare’s comedies, it deals with both tragic and comic themes, and modern criticism has created a category of romance for this and others of Shakespeare’s late plays.
Stephano and Trinculo are ridiculed and sent away in shame by Prospero.
Before the reunited group (all the noble characters plus Miranda and Prospero) leaves the island, Ariel is told to provide good weather to guide the king's ship back to the royal fleet and then to Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will be married. In the epilogue, Prospero requests that the audience set him free—with their applause.
The masque will feature classical goddesses, Juno, Ceres, and Iris, and will bless and celebrate the betrothal.
The masque will also instruct the young couple on marriage, and on the value of chastity until then.
Ariel fetches the sailors from the ship; then Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano.
Caliban, seemingly filled with regret, promises to be good.
Prospero forgives all three, and raises the threat to Antonio and Sebastian that he could blackmail them, though he won’t.
Prospero’s former title, Duke of Milan, is restored.