The Tempest

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Miranda Character Analysis

Prospero's daughter, the rightful princess of Milan. Miranda knows nothing of her past until Prospero fills her in during the second scene of the play. Miranda is a compassionate, dutiful daughter, and her only harsh words in the play are directed at Caliban, who tried to rape her at one time. Completely isolated from other people except her father, Miranda is amazed when she sees other humans, and immediately falls in love with Ferdinand, even though he is only the third man she can remember meeting in her life.

Miranda Quotes in The Tempest

The The Tempest quotes below are all either spoken by Miranda or refer to Miranda. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Tempest published in 2004.
Act 1, scene 2 Quotes
O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,
Who had no doubt some noble creature in her,
Dashed all to pieces.
Related Characters: Miranda (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Tempest
Page Number: 1.2.5-8
Explanation and Analysis:

The storm has caused the ship carrying Alonso, Antonio, Gonzalo and others to disintegrate. Meanwhile, on the island, Miranda watches the ship be battered alongside her father, Prospero, who she suspects is causing the storm with his magical powers. Miranda exclaims that she feels sympathy for those on the ship, imagining that there must be "some noble creature" aboard. Her observation reflects Gonzalo's statement in the previous scene that the Boatswain should remember who is onboard the ship (meaning in particular he should remember that there is a noble person, Alonso, the King of Naples). Miranda thus appears to possess a kind of prescience about the characters who will soon arrive on the island.

Miranda also feels a connection to the passengers on the ship because, like them, she was the victim of a shipwreck, which is how she ended up on the island. As this passage shows, Miranda is a kind, compassionate person, who feels sympathy when she encounters the suffering of others ("I have suffered / with those that I saw suffer"). This puts her in contrast to other characters who are embittered by their experiences (like Caliban) or who are selfish and power-hungry (like Antonio). 

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Act 3, scene 1 Quotes
There be some sports are painful, and their labour
Delight in them sets off. Some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone; and most poor matters
Point to rich ends. This my mean task would be
As heavy to me as odious, but
The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead,
And makes my labours pleasures.
Related Characters: Ferdinand (speaker), Miranda
Page Number: 3.1.1-7
Explanation and Analysis:

Ferdinand has been enslaved by Prospero, and has walked onstage carrying a heavy log. As he does so, he delivers a speech in which he claims that there are certain forms of work that are "nobly undergone," and that his love for Miranda makes his labor pleasurable. These words prove Ferdinand to be a righteous, worthy character; he happily performs acts of self-sacrifice in order to win Miranda's hand, thus proving his love for her is committed and sincere.

At the same time, Ferdinand's speech highlights how different his situation is from that of Caliban. Unlike Ferdinand, Caliban is imprisoned by Prospero completely against his will, and will not ultimately benefit from his captivity. Caliban's labor is thus meaningless and devoid of any dignity or satisfaction. 

Act 5, scene 1 Quotes
...O brave new world
That has such people in't!
Related Characters: Miranda (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.217-218
Explanation and Analysis:

Moved to compassion by Ariel, Prospero has ordered Alonso, Gonzalo and the others to be released and brought to him. He has praised Gonzalo and scolded the others, before revealing himself in the old attire of the Duke of Milan. Alonso grieves the presumed loss of Ferdinand, and at first Prospero continues letting him believe Ferdinand is dead, before revealing Ferdinand and Miranda together.

Seeing the new people, Miranda exclaims, "O brave new world!", astonished and delighted by seeing so many new people at once. However, Miranda's joy reveals how naïve she is as a result of having grown up on the island. After all, some of the men she is meeting are selfish, disloyal, and cruel, a fact that Prospero hints at immediately after her excited exclamation. 

...O rejoice
Beyond a common joy, and set it down
With gold on lasting pillars: in one voyage
Did Claribel her husband find at Tunis,
And Ferdinand her brother found a wife
Where he himself was lost; Prospero, his dukedom
In a poor isle, and all of us ourselves,
When no man was his own.
Related Characters: Gonzalo (speaker), Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand
Related Symbols: The Tempest
Page Number: 5.1.247-254
Explanation and Analysis:

All the characters on the island have been summoned together, which has led to many surprises, including the fact that Prospero, Miranda, and Ferdinand, all of whom were presumed dead, are in fact alive, and that Ferdinand and Miranda have fallen in love. In response to the happy scene, Gonzalo calls on everyone to rejoice, observing that while Ferdinand was lost in the storm, he in fact found a wife; meanwhile, Prospero has regained his dukedom "in a poor isle." Gonzalo's statement emphasizes how the upheaval of the storm and magic of the island have ultimately resulted in a restoration of the natural order of things. His final comment that everyone has found themselves "when no man was his own" highlights the importance of compassion, loyalty, and selflessness, traits that Gonzalo has unwaveringly embodied throughout the play. 

Gonzalo's speech emphasizes the way in which the characters have made instrumental use of the island; indeed, Gonzalo describes all the ways in which the storm will restore and improve Italian courtly society without mentioning the impact on the island itself, including its inhabitants. A postcolonial perspective – one that can see the faults in colonialism and the ideas and logic that supported colonial actions – thus allows us to identify a narrow, selfish underside to Gonzalo's triumphant declarations. 

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Miranda Character Timeline in The Tempest

The timeline below shows where the character Miranda appears in The Tempest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 2
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
Miranda and Prospero watch the tempest from the shore of an island. Miranda pities the seafarers,... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
...reassures her that no harm has been done and says that it's time to tell Miranda about her past. He takes off his cloak, saying, "Lie there my art" (1.2.24-25). Prospero... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
Alonso and Antonio arranged for soldiers to kidnap Prospero and Miranda in the middle of the night. The soldiers hurried them aboard a fine ship, and... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
Miranda says that she would like to meet Gonzalo someday. She then asks Prospero why he... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Prospero awakens Miranda and, calling for his "poisonous slave," (1.2.325) summons, Caliban, the malformed son of Sycorax. Caliban... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Miranda angrily scolds Caliban, recalling how she tried to lift him out of savagery by teaching... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
...five thy father lies. / Of his bones are coral made" (1.2.396–397). Unseen, Prospero and Miranda watch Ferdinand approach. Miranda declares Ferdinand handsome. Ferdinand soon notices Miranda and, struck by her... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
However, to test the depth of Ferdinand's love for Miranda, Prospero speaks sharply to Ferdinand and takes him into captivity as a servant. Miranda begs... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...and put to work by Prospero, he delivers a soliloquy in which he says that Miranda's love, the cause for which he labors, eases the difficulty of the task. (full context)
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
Miranda enters. Prospero follows behind, unseen. Miranda urges Ferdinand not to work so hard and offers... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
...seize Prospero's books, which are the source of his power. He entices Stephano by promising Miranda as a prize once the deed is done. Ariel listens in and makes plans to... (full context)
Act 3, scene 3
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Magic, Illusion, and Prospero as Playwright Theme Icon
...agent of Fate, Ariel condemns Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian for overthrowing and exiling Prospero and Miranda. He says that the tempest was nature's tool for exacting revenge on Alonso by taking... (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Prospero gives Ferdinand his blessing to marry Miranda, saying that Ferdinand has stood up well to Prospero's tests of his love. He threatens... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...death of Ferdinand. Prospero responds that he, too, has "lost" a child. Alonso assumes that Miranda has also died. Prospero invites Alonso to look into his cell, however, and reveals Ferdinand... (full context)
Loss and Restoration Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...on the island. In the morning, he says, they will all return to Naples, where Miranda and Ferdinand will be married. From there, Prospero says, he will return to Milan "where... (full context)