List of Characters
Prospero—the rightful Duke of Milan whose dukedom has been usurped by his brother Antonio. Prospero controls the island and its inhabitants with a God-like power.
Miranda—Prospero’s fifteen-year-old daughter who has been living with him on the island since their banishment from Milan when she was only three years old. Her father and Caliban are the only humans she remembers. When she meets Ferdinand, she falls in love with him almost immediately and innocently ffers herself to him as his wife.
Ferdinand—He is the son of Alonso, King of Naples. Though he is a man of royal blood, he must endure the dishonor of carrying logs for Prospero as a trial of his love for Miranda.
Ariel—an airy spirit who has suffered a twelve-year imprisonment in a “cloven pine” for refusing the “earthy and abhorr’d commands” of the evil witch, Sycorax. Prospero releases Ariel, only to subject him to further servitude. With the aid of Prospero, Ariel conjures up the tempest and performs other acts of magic throughout the play. Prospero finally gives him his freedom at the end.
Caliban—Prospero refers to him as a “born devil” whose mother was the evil witch, Sycorax. He is a deformed monster whose bestial nature cannot be changed, though he has been taught to speak a language. Paradoxically, Caliban usually speaks in verse and is given some of the most poetic lines in the play.
(The entire section is 541 words.)
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Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Prospero (PROS-peh-roh), the former and rightful duke of Milan, now living on an island in the distant seas. Years earlier, he had been deposed by his treacherous younger brother, Antonio, to whom he had given too much power, for Prospero had always been more interested in his books of philosophy and magic than in affairs of state. Antonio had the aid of Alonso, the equally treacherous king of Naples, in his plot against his brother, and the conspirators had set Prospero and his infant daughter, Miranda, adrift in a small boat. They were saved from certain death by the faithful Gonzalo, who provided the boat with food and Prospero’s books. Eventually, the craft drifted to an island that formerly had been the domain of the witch Sycorax, whose son, the monster Caliban, still lived there. Through the power of his magic, Prospero subdued Caliban and freed certain good spirits, particularly Ariel, whom Sycorax had imprisoned. Now, in a terrible storm, the ship carrying the treacherous king of Naples, his son Ferdinand, and Antonio is wrecked. They, with their companions, are brought ashore by Ariel. Using Ariel as an instrument, Prospero frustrates the plots of Antonio and Sebastian against the king and of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano against himself. He also furthers the romance between Miranda and Ferdinand. Convinced at last that Antonio and Alonso have repented of the wrongs they had done him, Prospero has them brought to his cell, where he reveals his identity and reclaims his dukedom. At the end of the...
(The entire section is 641 words.)