Prospero (/ˈprɒspəroʊ/ PROS-pər-oh) is a fictional character and
the protagonist of William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
the rightful Duke of Milan, whose usurping brother, Antonio, had put
him (with his three-year-old daughter, Miranda) to sea on "a rotten
carcass of a butt [boat]" to die, 12 years before the play begins.
Prospero and Miranda survived and found exile on a small island. He
has learned sorcery from books, and uses it while on the island to
protect Miranda and control the other characters. Before the play has
Prospero frees the spirit Ariel from entrapment within "a
cloven pine", about which
It was mine Art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.
— The Tempest, Act 1, scene 2.
Prospero's sorcery is sufficiently powerful to control Ariel and other
spirits, as well as to alter weather and even raise the dead: "Graves
at my command have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth, by
my so potent Art."- Act V, scene 1.
On the island,
Prospero becomes master of the monster
Caliban (the son
of Sycorax, a malevolent witch) and forces
Caliban into submission by
punishing him with magic if he does not obey. Ariel is beholden to
Prospero after he is freed from his imprisonment inside the pine tree.
At the end of the play,
Prospero intends to drown his book and
renounce magic. In the view of the audience, this may have been
required to make the ending unambiguously happy, as magic was
associated with diabolical works; he will drown his books for the same
reason that Doctor Faust, in an earlier play by Christopher Marlowe,
promised in vain to burn his books.
1 Prospero's speech
3 In popular culture
5 External links
The Tempest is believed to be the last play
alone. In this play there are two candidate soliloquies by
Prospero, which critics have taken to be Shakespeare's own "retirement
One person's speech is the "Cloud-capp'd towers...".
revels now are ended: These our actors—,
foretold you—, were all spirits and
melted into air, into thin air;
like the baseless fabric of this vision,
cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
solemn temples, the great globe itself,
all which it inherit, shall dissolve
like this insubstantial pageant faded,
not a rack behind: we are such stuff
dreams are made on, and our little life
rounded with a sleep. — The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1
The final soliloquy and epilogue is the other candidate.
my charms are all o'erthrown,
what strength I have's mine own,
is most faint: now, 'tis true,
must be here confined by you,
sent to Naples. Let me not,
I have my dukedom got
pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
this bare island by your spell;
release me from my bands
the help of your good hands:
breath of yours my sails
fill, or else my project fails,
was to please. Now I want
to enforce, art to enchant,
my ending is despair,
I be relieved by prayer,
pierces so that it assaults
itself and frees all faults.
you from crimes would pardon'd be,
your indulgence set me free.
Sir Michael Redgrave
Sir Michael Redgrave played
Prospero in a
BBC Play of the Month
production in 1968.
Heathcote Williams played
Prospero in Derek Jarman's 1979 film version
of The Tempest.
Sir Michael Hordern
Sir Michael Hordern played
Prospero in a 1980 production for BBC
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Stratford Shakespeare Festival production was videotaped and
broadcast on television in 1983, starring
Len Cariou as Prospero.
Paul Mazursky's film, Tempest (1983), features a Prospero-esque
character portrayed by
John Cassavetes who is an exile of his own
cynical discontent, ego and self-betrayal and who abandons America for
a utopian "kingdom" on a secluded Greek isle.
In Peter Greenaway's film
Prospero's Books (1991),
Prospero is played
by John Gielgud.
In Julie Taymor's 2010 film adaptation of the play,
Prospero is played
Helen Mirren and is now named Prospera.
BBC Radio 3 broadcast a production of
The Tempest (7 October 2001)
adapted for radio and directed by David Hunter, starring Philip Madoc
Nina Wadia as Ariel, Josh Richards as Caliban, Catrin
Rhys as Miranda, Andrew Cryer as Ferdinand,
Rudolph Walker as Gonzalo,
James Laurenson as Alonso,
Christian Rodska as Sebastian, and Ioan
Meredith as Antonio.
David Warner played
Prospero in the
BBC Radio 3 Drama on 3 production
of The Tempest, broadcast (on 6 May 2012) as part of the Shakespeare
Unlocked series on the BBC. The production included
Carl Prekopp as
Rose Leslie as Miranda, James Garnon as Caliban, James Lailey
Antonio and Peter Hamilton Dyer as Sebastian, and was adapted for
radio and directed by Jeremy Mortimer.
Richard Cox portrays
Prospero in the second season of the TNT series
The Librarians. This version of
Prospero is a Fictional, a character
brought to life by magic, and has become bitter over the way his story
was written, as he feels it was made without his consent. After
regaining his book and obtaining the Staff of Zarathustra, he
imprisons the Librarians within his illusions, but his servant Ariel
(who is an actual fairy rather than a character) rebels and frees
Prospero subsequently begins to reshape the world in his image,
while also possessing his creator
Shakespeare in order to change the
past. The Librarians destroy his staff and exorcise him from
Shakespeare's body, banishing him back to his original story.
Patrick Stewart portrayed
Prospero on a Broadway version of The
Tempest. He later participated as
Prospero in Rupert Goold's very
loose interpretation with
The Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company in
In popular culture
In the comic book series
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan
Moore and Kevin O'Neill,
Prospero appears as a founding member of the
first such grouping in 1610, alongside his familiars
Paul Prospero, the protagonist of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
(2014), is named after Prospero.
In John Bellairs's novel
The Face in the Frost (1969),
Prospero is one
of the protagonists.
In The Horus Heresy series, several books take place on a planet
called Prospero. The citizens of the planet are versed in sorcery and
psychic powers, earning them the suspicion and ire of the rest of the
Imperium of Man.
Melon Cauliflower, by NZ playwright Tom McCrory, is about a man
Prospero, in his late sixties, who struggles to come to terms with the
death of his wife and has mistreated his daughter Miranda.
The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe, is set at the manor
of a Prince Prospero
In the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation by Gene
CBS / Paramount Pictures,
Prospero appears briefly
played by Lt. Cmdr. Data who is in turn played by the actor Brent
Spiner during the beginning of Season 7 Episode 23 entitled
'Emergence'. He recites some lines of Prospero's speech before asking
Captain Picard as played by
Patrick Stewart to provide some insight
into the character of
Prospero and Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' in
general. This may be a fortunate coincidence as Stewart was to appear
Prospero on Broadway the following year, a booking which may have
been known by the writers.
In the mobile game "
Star Trek Timelines" a character was released in
February 2017 called
Prospero Data recalling the characters appearance
in the previously mentioned Star Trek: TNG episode.
Good wizard named
Prospero appears in Polish children's animated
cartoon called "Miś Fantazy" based on the books by Ewa
In episode 1 of the video game Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the
drama students of Blackwell Academy are seen rehearsing for their
upcoming play, The Tempest. The character, Rachel Amber, playing
In the popular manga One Piece, a character with the name Perospero
appears in chapter 834, partly inspired by Prospero. His mother,
Charlotte Linlin also seems to be inspired by the character as she is
the one to use magic to control everything on the Island with her
Prospero is the main antagonist in season 2 of The Librarians (2014 TV
^ "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe".
www.gutenberg.org. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
^ a b c Shakespeare, William (1913). "Act 4, Scene 1". In Horne,
The Tempest (Revised hardcover ed.). New Haven: Yale University
Press. p. 72. ...it was probably Shakespeare's last effort.
^ a b c Jacobs, M W. "Shakespeare's Parting Words". HuffingtonPost.
Retrieved 16 June 2017.
^ a b Shakespeare, William; Guthrie,Tyrone (1958). "The Tempest". In
Alexander, Peter. The Comedies. New York: The Heritage Press.
Shakespeare himself was at the end of his career, and it is
hardly possible not to see,...in Prospero's resignation of his magic a
reflection of Shakespeare's own farewell to his art.
^ "On The Vanishing of Ethan Carter's Ending (EXTREME SPOILERS)".
Prospero Burns publisher summary". Archived from the original on 13
October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
^ McCrory, Tom. Melon Cauliflower (PDF). RadioNZ. [permanent dead
Prospero appears as the main villain in season 2 of The Librarians on
"Miś Fantazy". vod.tvp.pl. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
^ "Ewa Karwan-Jastrzębska"., wolna encyklopedia (in
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prospero.
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