The Tempest Characters

Characters are human beings or animals in novels, stories, and poems. The authors show their beliefs, ideas and philosophical foundations through these characters. Major characters in The Tempest by William Shakespeare are interesting. A few are deeply disturbing due to the depth of meanings they convey through their conversation and actions. Some of the major characters of The Tempest have been discussed below.

Characters in The Tempest

Character #1


The Tempest revolves around Prospero. He is a complex character. He was wronged by his brother, who seized his kingdom. However, he displays his own authority over others, making him difficult to like him. His insistent and excessive instructions to Miranda show his love for knowledge. On the other hand, the same love for knowledge led him to neglect his subjects and gave his brother a chance to throw him out of his kingdom. He uses his magic to punish Caliban and exploit Ariel. This shows his shortcoming which is further demonstrated in the case of Ferdinand. His schemes and manipulations bring perfect resolution at the end. His love for Miranda and treatment with his enemies make him a likable figure.

Character #2


Miranda is Prospero’s teenage daughter. She demonstrates gentleness and compassionate throughout the play. She leaves it to her father to choose a husband for her. Later, Ariel works for Prospero and brings Ferdinand for Miranda. She displays mature traits of her character when their conversation turns to life, virginity, and life after marriage with Ferdinand. Despite seemingly passive features, Miranda demonstrates two unique events that complicate impressions about her character. At first, she scolds Caliban when he tried to violate her chastity. This shows her courage. She finds herself obsessed and in love with Ferdinand. She even confesses to being his maid if they don’t marry.

Character #3


Ariel is a ghostly spirit, working for Prospero. Ariel always protests, asking Prospero to set him free. Prospero promises that he would free him, but this doesn’t happen for many years. However, Ariel serves him faithfully. Despite having immense abilities and various other spirits at his disposal, Ariel does not rebel against Prospero. Ariel demonstrates some compassion for the castaways and helps Prospero to get justice. However, he requests Prospero to change, prompting him to win his freedom. Prospero also forgives his enemies.

Character #4


Gonzalo is Alonso’s counselor. Earlier, he ruled Milan with Prospero and helped him escape his fate. He is extremely wise as he filled Prospero’s boat with cloths and books that he loves the most. Later, those books help Prospero to exact revenge from his enemies. His act of kindness demonstrates his compassion and sympathy toward others. Throughout the play, he continues to display his kindness and gentleness even when speaking to Sebastian when he accuses Alonso of Shipwreck. Although at times, he seems unreliable, he does not budge from his stand and stays steadfast in his arguments.

Character #5


Ferdinand is the heir to Naples and the faithful son of Alonso. Ferdinand becomes a tool in the hands of Prospero through Ariel. He, too, falls in love with Miranda and chooses to marry her. A royal conspiracy becomes a royal wedding. However, this simple act of marrying is also key to reclaiming the lost throne. He assumes his father is dead in the shipwreck. Later, he agrees to serve Prospero by marrying his daughter. Finally, Prospero declares his worthiness for Miranda, and he is happily married.

Character #6


Caliban is the son of a witch, Sycorax, one of the inhabitants of the island. While his mother is a witch, his father is the devil. He is Prospero’s only subject who serves him despite constant rebellion. He is evil by nature and uses dirty tricks against his enemies. Prospero does his best to keep Caliban away from Miranda. He also tries to molest Miranda. Slowly embraces his dark side and conspires to kill Prospero. It also shows his sub-human nature that is unpredictable. However, later he tries to give an impression of his understanding of poetry and beauty. Except for Gonzalo, he often faces maltreatment from others. Caliban does everything due to ignorance and can be compared to a wild animal tamed by Prospero.

Character #7


Antonio is Prospero’s brother. He exiles his brother with his daughter after overtaking his kingdom. He becomes the duke of Milan after finding his brother’s negligence due to Prospero’s love for knowledge. He is least honorable and even conspires with Sebastian to murder his brother. He is later confronted by Ariel and Prospero. Unfortunately, he doesn’t feel sorry for his actions.

Character #8


Trinculo is an interesting character who makes others smile and sometimes laugh at his timely jests. Trinculo is an alcoholic. He serves Alonso despite his passive nature. At times he tries to provide comedy during the tragedy, and it is too heavy to bear. Despite Caliban’s spurns, he joins him to assassinate Prospero and take over the island. However, he proves a failure in this plan.

Character #9


Stephano is also a very jolly and intoxicated most of the time. Stephano is Trinculo’s friend and also takes after him in being an alcoholic. When he appears on the scene, Caliban takes him as a new master, having similar magical powers. He, along with his group, fails to execute the plan, as he does not have conspiring abilities like Trinculo.

Character #10


Boatswain is a petty officer of the ship and worked under the captain. He has the control in his hand. Although Sebastian and Antonio try to have a brawl with him, he does not budge from his position and continues doing his job. He reappears in the last act and states the fate of the crew after the disaster.