50 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare

The Tempest

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1611

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Character Analysis


Prospero is the main engine of the story. His name means to succeed or prosper, and this is what he does throughout the play. Using magic and guile, Prospero controls most of the play’s events, and he does so with one purpose: to restore himself to his kingdom. The rightful Duke of Milan, Prospero was betrayed 12 years earlier by his brother and prime minister Antonio who usurped the throne and set Prospero and his toddler daughter adrift at sea. Marooned on a faraway island, Prospero plots retribution and bides his time until a ship containing Antonio and his co-conspirators sails past. He then uses magic to bring them to him and make them fall under his spell. He also manipulates his daughter Miranda and her suitor Ferdinand so that they fall passionately in love, which will help bring peace between King Alonso’s Naples and his own Milan.

Prospero mishandles Caliban, but he also succeeds in raising a successful and charming daughter. Brilliant, determined, forceful, and sometimes cruel, Prospero shows a streak of compassion when, after achieving victory, he forgives his betrayers.