The Tempest


William Shakespeare

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The Tempest Characters

Read our modern English translation.


The rightful Duke of Milan who was overthrown and exiled by his brother Antonio and Alonso, the King of Naples. Prospero has lived for 12 years with his daughter Miranda on a deserted island… (read full character analysis)


A spirit and Prospero's servant. Prospero rescued Ariel from a prison in which he was placed by the dead witch Sycorax. Now Ariel uses magic to carry out Prospero's commands. Ariel wants his… (read full character analysis)


Prospero's unwilling slave. As the son of the witch Sycorax, who ruled the island before she died years prior to Prospero's arrival, Caliban believes that he should be master of the island. When Prospero… (read full 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… (read full character analysis)


Prospero's brother. Antonio once plotted to overthrow Prospero and later encourages Sebastian to do the same to Alonso. He is a power-hungry and conniving character, and never shows remorse for his cruel schemes… (read full character analysis)
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Alonso's advisor. Gonzalo was charged with carrying out the kidnapping of Prospero and Miranda. A kind soul, he pitied the pair and arranged for them to have provisions for survival in exile. Gonzalo… (read full character analysis)


Alonso's son. Ferdinand finds love with Miranda. Their union seals the reconciliation between Alonso of Naples and Prospero of Milan. Ferdinand is kind, courteous, and dutiful. His love for and loyalty to his… (read full character analysis)


Alonso's brother. Sebastian is easily persuaded by Antonio to try to murder his brother so that he can become king. It is later revealed that he also played a part in the overthrow of… (read full character analysis)


Alonso's butler. Stephano is a comical character who spends the whole play drunk. When Caliban mistakes him for a god because he gives Caliban wine and gets him drunk, Stephano begins to fancy himself a… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The king of Naples. Alonso plotted with Antonio to overthrow Prospero, but he expresses genuine remorse when confronted with his crimes. Alonso also shows a sincere love for his son Ferdinand and is distraught for much of the play, believing that Ferdinand has drowned in the tempest.
The king's jester. Trinculo is another comical character, and like Stephano, he is drunk for much of the play. Trinculo is less charismatic and more cowardly than Stephano. He resents Caliban's worship of Stephano but readily follows along with the plot to murder Prospero.
A member of the ship's crew. The boatswain speaks commandingly to the courtiers in the first scene. His assertion of his authority angers the courtiers, especially Antonio and Sebastian.
A vicious witch, and Caliban's mother. Sycorax ruled the island, imprisoned Ariel when he refused to do her nasty bidding, and died before Prospero's arrival.
A minor lord in the king's court.
A minor lord in the king's court.
The Greek goddess of the rainbow. She appears in the wedding masque.
The Greek goddess of the harvest. She blesses Miranda and Ferdinand with wishes of prosperity at the wedding masque.
The queen of the Greek gods. She blesses Miranda and Ferdinand with wishes of wealth and honor at the wedding masque.