Alonso: The king of Naples and father of Ferdinand, Alonso plotted in the past with Antonio to take over Prospero’s dukedom but is now struck with deep remorse. He takes the discipline meted out by Prospero in all humility.
Sebastian: Alonso’s ambitious younger brother, Sebastian at one point plots with Antonio to kill his brother, the king, and take over his kingdom.
Prospero: The rightful duke of Milan, Prospero has been exiled with his daughter, Miranda, on a magical island for twelve years. He is intelligent, has studied magic for many years, and has achieved a far-reaching power.
Antonio: The brother of Prospero, Antonio twelve years ago usurped his brother’s dukedom and set Prospero and Miranda adrift in a leaky boat. Even after Prospero uses his magic to punish him and show him his evil ways, Antonio remains largely unrepentant.
Ferdinand: The son of Alonso, Ferdinand is both pure himself and appreciative of the innocence and purity of Miranda. He is courteous and respectful of Prospero, despite the harsh treatment he receives.
Gonzalo: An honest and noble old counselor, Gonzalo was responsible for the survival of Prospero and Miranda when they were set adrift by Antonio.
Caliban: A savage and deformed slave, Caliban is a creature of the earth but not honored with a human shape. Prospero tells us that Caliban’s father was the devil himself, and his mother was Sycorax, a wicked witch.
Trinculo: Alonzo’s jester and Stephano’s sidekick, Trinculo is often drunk, often funny, and almost always at odds with someone.
Stephano: Alonso’s butler, Stephano is a genial bully. He provides Caliban with liquor, thus guaranteeing his devotion.
Master of a Ship
Miranda: The daughter of Prospero, Miranda was exiled with his father twelve years ago. Since that time she has seen no other human being and has now matured into a young woman.
Ariel: An airy spirit, Ariel is not human, and yet is endowed with personality and intelligence. Ariel was too delicate to do the evil bidding of Sycorax, who imbedded the spirit in a cloven oak. When Prospero liberated the spirit, Ariel became his agent.