Who is Ferdinand in Shakespere's The Tempest?   

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shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hardye has made some good points in discussing Ferdinand in The Tempest.  Ferdinand does indeed fall in love with Prospero's daughter Miranda, aided by the magic of Ariel.  Prospero does also have a "plan" for Ferdinand, which is for him to marry his daughter and cement the reconciliation between Prospero, right Duke of Milan and Alonso, Ferdinand's father and King of Milan.

It is interesting to note that Ferdinand is presented as more passive than his romantic counterpart, Miranda.  Much like Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Ferdinand is led to the vow of marriage by a strong-willed and direct girl.  She says, "I am your wife, if you will marry me."

Miranda's directness may be attributed to having grown up on a desert island and never taught to "be a lady."  But what about Ferdinand?  Is he "soft" because he has grown up a Prince?  It's hard to know, but Shakespeare does have fun with this aspect of his nature, having Miranda take on the job of hauling wood that Prospero has assigned to Ferdinand, so that he might rest.  Hardly the behaviour of a classic knight in shining armor.

At the end of the play, Ferdinand's role as a key figure in the reconciliation of the shipwrecked royals with Prospero and Miranda is clear.  Ferdinand is reunited with his lost fellows and father, and Prospero is reunited with the shipwrecked royals.

hardye | Student

Ferdinand is a crucial figure in the Tempest; his role varies because of different peoples plans. For part of the play he doesn’t seem that important to the readers.  Although we might not notice it at first, but Ferdinand is very important to Prospero.  Ferdinand, according to Prospero, is the one to stop Alonso from trying to kill him, and to give Prospero back his old job. Prospero cleverly uses Miranda’s inexperience of men and I personally think magic on Ferdinand to make them fall deeply in love within a few hours of meeting. Ferdinand doesn’t say much in the play so it is hard to tell what he thinks his purpose is. What I understand from reading the play is that he is blinded by love (magic) and from then on he thinks his sole purpose is to marry Miranda and to love her. I think that this is rather suspicious as surely there must have been more beautiful and clever people at his homeland than just Miranda. At the end there is reconciliation between Alonso and Prospero, however I think that he knows that his Dukedom is at a precarious point, so he keeps Ferdinand under his control which makes Alonso less likely to try and kill Prospero. In conclusion I think that Ferdinand had many different roles, but most importantly to bring peace between Prospero and Alonso, and to keep it there.

anj1998 | Student

ferdinand has a very important role in the tempest when there is a ship wreck in the island he thinks his father has died and cries in grief.but through magic he gets to meet miranda as planned by prospero but prospero fears that he would not get a greater prize if they fall in love so easily so he keeps ferdinand his slave so miranda gets a little hard to get from him.ferdinand falls deeply in love with miranda and would do anything for him,he works very hard to get miranda.he has a very strong character and a willing character

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The Tempest

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