Ariel in The Tempest: Traits & Character Analysis

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  • 0:03 Introducing Ariel
  • 0:42 Loyal Ariel
  • 1:01 Compassionate Ariel
  • 1:42 Magical Ariel
  • 1:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shamekia Thomas

Shamekia has taught English at the secondary level and has her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Ariel is the 'spirit' servant of Prospero in Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest.' Ariel is not a human but helps Prospero in order to gain his freedom. Learn more about the character Ariel in this lesson.

Introducing Ariel

The Tempest is William Shakespeare's final written play. The play tells the story of a man named Prospero's exile on a deserted island. In order to survive on the island and manipulate his enemies, Prospero uses the assistance of two of his servants, Ariel and Caliban. Caliban does not get along with Prospero and often calls him names. Ariel is much more loyal to Prospero and does what Prospero says in order to one day have his freedom.

Loyal Ariel

Ariel is Prospero's spirit (he's not human) servant who manipulates others by changing shapes as Prospero tells him. Ariel is loyal to Prospero because Prospero rescued Ariel from imprisonment in a tree by a witch.

Ariel's main goal is to gain his freedom; he happily serves Prospero so that he can have his life back, which Prospero has promised him. Because of his loyalty, Prospero grants Ariel his freedom and commends him.

Compassionate Ariel

Arial uses magic to assist Prospero in getting his needs met but is also kind and compassionate towards others. For example, when a group of shipwrecked men are captured, Ariel makes them seem harmless to Prospero so that Prospero will not be really mean to them.

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