ambition has poisoned their sense of privilege and obligation as they continue to calculate. Antonio says in an aside to Sebastian,

"Do not, for one repulse, forgoe the purpose
That you resolved to effect"

Prospero appears with spirits and they spread a feast in front of the hungry men but as they attempt to eat it Ariel appears in the guise of a harpy, amid thunder and lightening and reminds them of their sins and past cruelties. The harpy figure is reminiscent of mythical tales of retribution, especially of Homer's Odyssey, which is centred around a journey of shipwrecks and sea storms. Here then we are presented with a dramatic melange of the harpy derived from the morality plays tradition and the court masque, a form popularised during the reign of James I (1603-25) employing mime, music, costumes and moving scenery.

In much the same way that in Hamlet the young prince envisions Claudius' crime of killing his brother as a festering ulcer poisoning the state of Denmark, Gonzalo's speech that closes the scene incorporates this traditional imagery as guilt and crime is seen as infecting the royal party:

"Like poison given to work a great time after,
Now gins to bite the spirits"

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