The Tempest Characters guide studies each character's
role and motivation in this play.
Prospero: The main character of this play, Prospero
used to be the legitimate Duke of Milan. Unfortunately
his treacherous brother Antonio stole his title and
banished Prospero to a Mediterranean island with his
daughter Miranda. A great lover of the arts and in particular
books, Prospero has harnessed the powers of magic whilst
Miranda: Prospero's daughter. Attractive and
young at the tender age of fifteen years, Miranda has
lived with her father in exile for twelve years. Aside
from her father, she has seen few men in her life, and
quickly enchants the shipwrecked Ferdinand.
Ariel: An airy spirit, Ariel serves his master
Prospero well in his many tasks of magic on Prospero's
island. Once enslaved by a witch, Ariel wants his freedom
now from Prospero. At the conclusion of this play Ariel
is made free.
Caliban: A giant misformed beast, Shakespeare
describes Caliban as "a savage and deformed slave."
Hating his master Prospero, Caliban works for him out
of fear of Prospero's magic.
Iris, Ceres, Juno, Nymphs and Reapers: Spirits
that appear by Prospero's will.
Characters who arrive at Prospero's Island by shipwreck:
Alonso: The King of Naples. When Prospero's
brother Antonio, usurped (took) Prospero's dukedom,
it was Alonso who recognized Prospero's brother, sealing
Prospero's fate of living in exile.
Ferdinand: The much-loved son of the King of
Naples. Shipwrecked, but alive, Ferdinand falls instantly
in live with Miranda, when he first sees her on Prospero's
Sebastian: The brother of Alonso, the King of
Naples. He plots to kill his king and take his title
with the scheming Antonio.
Antonio: The brother of Prospero, he took Prospero's
title from him when Prospero trusted him to manage his
affairs. Having replaced his brother, he now encourages
Sebastian to do the same to his brother, Alonso.
Gonzalo: An honest old counsellor. When Prospero
was to have starved to death when exiled by boat, it
was Gonzalo who provided food, clothing and books to
comfort Prospero and the then three year old Miranda.
Stephano: A drunken butler, he attempts to kill
Prospero and take the island for his own. Trinculo and
Caliban whom he fools into believing he is a God help
Trinculo: A jester, who tries to kill Prospero.
Master of a ship, Boatswains, Mariners: Sailors
who fight Prospero's storm but are ultimately shipwrecked
on his island.