Looking for The Tempest characters? Find them all analyzed here! This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains character descriptions and analysis of Prospero, Miranda, Alonso, and other characters, as well as The Tempest character map.
🗺️ The Tempest Character Map
Below you’ll find The Tempest character map. It contains all the key characters of the play with their connections shown.
🧙 Prospero in The Tempest
Prospero is considered the main character in the play since all the events are centered around his actions. Moreover, someone even compares him to the author of the play since he controls everyone around him! He and his daughter live on the island, which is the primary setting of The Tempest.
Prospero Character Analysis
Prospero’s quotes confirm that he is the rightful Duke of Milan. However, his brother, Antonio, betrayed him twelve years before the actions of the play. Sent away on a tiny boat with his daughter, Miranda, Prospero was saved when they reached an island. During all those years, he managed to learn magic. Now, he controls the whole island and its inhabitants. At the beginning of the play, Prospero seems cruel by making everyone around him obey and suffer. Even his daughter is often enchanted. Even though he does it to protect his family, it sure looks like he just enjoys cruelty.
Prospero’s magic is not of a dark origin, so he does not harm anyone intentionally. He has been planning his revenge all those years, but we can truly see his humanity by the end of the story. At first, Prospero wants to use Ferdinand by making him fall in love with Miranda. However, as soon as he sees that the young couple is truly in love, he turns it into a merry celebration. Moreover, Prospero chooses not to do any harm to his brother. Even though Antonio betrayed him, he is forgiven in the end. All in all, it evident that the main character is not only intelligent but fair in his judgments and actions.
Prospero’s Quotes from The Tempest
Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,The Tempest act 1 scene 1
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.
My high charms work,The Tempest act 1 scene 3
And these, mine enemies, are all knit up
In their distractions. They now are in my power.
Now I wantThe Tempest Epilogue
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
👸 Miranda in The Tempest
Miranda is stuck on the island with her father, Prospero. She is the main character in The Tempest as well. Another interesting fact is that Miranda the only woman to appear on the stage. At the same time, she seems to be relatively passive, not taking any active measures. This fact makes her a typical female character of the time.
Miranda Character Analysis
In The Tempest, Miranda is Prospero’s daughter, who was only 3 years old when their exile began. It explains why she doesn’t remember seeing any other humans other than her father and Caliban. Moreover, she is not aware of her beauty since she doesn’t have an understanding of how women look like. She is almost like the goddess in The Tempest. One of the first traits that the audience might notice about Miranda is her compassion. When Prospero controls the storm and the boat, she begs him to stop because it is hard to see the sufferings of all the crew and passengers there. At the same time, she is a very obedient daughter and never goes against her father.
According to her quotes in The Tempest, Miranda was kept in secret about the past. Only when the ship arrives, Prospero tells her about the circumstances under which they ended up on the island. The purity and innocence of Miranda’s character in The Tempest are proven once again when she meets Ferdinand. Some of Miranda’s quotes also point out that she disobeys her father, but only under the charm of love. Not only she speaks to Ferdinand, but she tries to help him and reveals her name. However, her behavior might also be affected by the fact that she does not have any socializing experience due to such long isolation.
Miranda’s Quotes from The Tempest
And now, I pray you, sir,The Tempest act 1 scene 2
For still ’tis beating in my mind, your reason
For raising this sea-storm?
I am your wife, if you will marry me;The Tempest act 3 scene 1
If not, I’ll die your maid: to be your fellow
You may deny me; but I’ll be your servant,
Whether you will or no.
O, wonder!The Tempest act 5 scene 1
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
👳 Caliban in The Tempest
Caliban, who is a native to the island, might appear as the antagonist. On the other hand, despite being extremely rude most of the time, he is just a victim. He does not stand a chance against Prospero’s magic, so he is forced to obey. Naturally, such a situation evokes rebellious behavior.
Caliban Character Analysis
In The Tempest, Caliban is the son of the witch Sycorax, who was the ruler of the island. When the witch died, Caliban decided that the honor of ruling the island is passed to him. Prospero and Miranda arrived a few years later. Some friendly relationship started between all of them as Prospero offered to teach a local. However, according to the quotes, Caliban realized that he was seen as a silly savage and a servant. Therefore, throughout the play, he is always bitter towards his master and tries to get rid of him. It may be the case that through their relationship, Shakespeare works out the theme of colonization.
If we look at some quotes, Caliban is mainly perceived as the creation of black magic, especially from the civilized point of view. He lets the negative side of his personality take over when Prospero conquers him. As revenge, the islander plans on murdering his master. However, it seems like Caliban lacks the sense of judging people correctly since he trusts two drunk men to help him. According to the quotes in The Tempest, Caliban decides that Stefano is a god only because of the alcohol. At the same, he may be considered innocent as he reacts to the surroundings without putting much thought into it.
Caliban: Quotes from The Tempest
For I am all the subjects that you have,The Tempest act 1 scene 2
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o’ the island.
I’ll kiss thy foot; I’ll swear myself thy subject.The Tempest act 2 scene 1
I’ll swear upon that bottle to be thy true subject;The Tempest act 2 scene 2
for the liquor is not earthly.
🧚 Ariel in The Tempest
Ariel is a spirit (non-human creature) who mostly stays invisible to the characters. The spirit in The Tempest appears to be yet another Prospero’s servant who desires to be free. However, despite all the promises, the day he becomes his own master again is rescheduled repeatedly. At the same time, it does not seem like Ariel suffers too much.
When we go through some quotes, Ariel appeared to be imprisoned in the tree because he refused to serve Sycorax, The Tempest’s witch. Sometime later, Prospero came to the island and managed to set him free. In return, the spirit had to do some tasks. It is hard to count how many times Prospero used Ariel. However, the spirit cheerfully and energetically makes his master’s wishes come true because he wants his freedom back. Ariel does everything possible to finish the task quickly and without mistakes.
Moreover, Prospero gets the reports promptly. It appears that the spirit also assists him by his own will. At the beginning of the play, Prospero finds out that someone wants to murder him from Ariel’s words.
Besides, according to some of the quotes from The Tempest, Ariel serves as an important symbol. Thanks to his attitude towards the duties, we can see that Prospero is not such a negative character. The spirit is incredibly obedient to his master, which means that even the cruelest tasks have a decent reason behind them. There is such a striking difference between how Caliban and Ariel perceive their service. Ariel in The Tempest is always willing to help Prospero, even though he hardly has other choices. Therefore, the humanity of Prospero’s actions is restored.
Ariel: Quotes from The Tempest
Remember I have done thee worthy service;The Tempest act 1 scene 2
Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, served
Without or grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise
To bate me a full year.
Prospero my lord shall know what I have done:The Tempest act 2 scene 1
So, king, go safely on to seek thy son.
Your charm so strongly works ’emThe Tempest act 5 scene 1
That, if you now beheld them, your affections
Would become tender.
🎭 Minor Characters in The Tempest
Alonso, the king of Naples, believes that his son died during the storm. His grieving is not eased by anything throughout the whole play. However, their reunion at the end is one of the most joyful moments in the story. At the same time, the king is not totally innocent. It seems like he plays a role in Prospero’s exile as well because Antonio had to agree with Alonso on the betrayal. He regrets doing it, though, when Prospero confronts him. All in all, the king’s character is portrayed as the image of a loving and caring father who made some mistakes in the past. In The Tempest, Alonso also accepts Miranda incredibly fast, proving him to be a fair and good king.
In The Tempest, Ferdinand is the king’s son. From the beginning of the play, he has been missing. At least, the royal party thought so. In fact, Ferdinand was led away from the leading group by Prospero. As soon as he meets Miranda, the audience understands that it is instant true love. The king’s son is a loving and caring person who would be an amazing husband to anyone. Therefore, it is not hard for him to convince Prospero that Miranda is safe, loved, and respected by him. Ferdinand seems like the best match for the girl since they share many pure qualities and are both loyal and innocent.
Gonzalo is one of the most loyal to the king in the royal party. Moreover, from the story at the beginning of the play, we know that he helped Prospero and Miranda when they were leaving their home. Therefore, Gonzalo appears to be a relatively sympathetic character. A king’s advisor in The Tempest, Gonzalo, has a positive outlook and tries to make the best out of every situation. Moreover, he is very devoted to Alonso and worried about his well-being constantly. Gonzalo also plays a vital role by making many comments in the scenes, which create a fuller understanding of the mood.
In The Tempest, Antonio is one of a few antiheroes. From the very beginning, he is pictured as selfish and hungry for more power. By betraying his brother, Prospero, he takes over his position as the duke of Milan. However, it seems like it is not enough. On the island, he plots to kill the king.
Sebastian has similar qualities as Antonio. However, in The Tempest, Sebastian appears to be a coward. He has a lot of doubts while they are plotting to murder the king. Simultaneously, it is evident that he has quite a weak character since it is so easy for Antonio to persuade him.
Trinculo is a jester, and he is portrayed as a comical character in The Tempest. Together with Stephano, he is drunk most of the time. It seems like he mainly follows his friend around, not taking charge of anything. Trinculo’s cowardness and lack of charisma are shown by some of the quotes from The Tempest.
Stephano in The Tempest is the king’s butler. He is another character who is mostly seen drunk. The Tempest’s savage, Caliban, takes him for a god because of the alcohol. Simultaneously, Stephano decides that he is not less powerful than Alonso and supports the plan of killing Prospero.
On the character map of The Tempest, a boatswain plays minimal role. However, he seems to be a genuinely good person and a skilled crew member. In the first scene, he is trying his best to save the boat and prefers action over praying. To protect the royal party from danger, the boatswain ignores all their authority.
Thank you for reading this article! If you are looking for an essay idea on the play, you might want to take a look at The Tempest essay topics collection. Another great option is using our topic-generating tool. Any questions left? Check The Tempest QA section!