Ferdinand (The Tempest)

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Creator William Shakespeare
Play The Tempest
Date c. 1611
Family Alonso, King of Naples (father)
Miranda (wife)
Sebastian (uncle)
Prospero (father-in-law)
Portrayed by Reeve Carney (2010)

Ferdinand is the prince of Naples and the son of Alonso, the King of Naples, in Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.

Fictional biography[edit]

Ferdinand is aboard the ship that is run aground due to the storm created by the sorcerer and old Duke, Prospero. Ferdinand is separated from his father and friends (purposely) by Ariel, the airy servant of Prospero. Ariel leads Ferdinand to Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, whom he instantly falls in love with. Ferdinand, who is astounded that Miranda is even human, tells her that she is the most amazing woman he has ever encountered:

Full many a lady
I have eyed with best regard and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed
And put it to the foil: but you, O you,
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creature's best!

Ferdinand casts aside his grief and mourning for his father and friends, who he believes have all perished in the storm. He instead envelops himself in his love (and lust) for Miranda, telling her that he will make her the "Queen of Naples". According to plan, Prospero uses Ferdinand's infatuation with Miranda to re-gain power, and eventually take his rightful position as Duke of Milan. Accusing him of being a spy and traitor, Prospero keeps Ferdinand in isolation, and forces him to arbitrarily move logs. However, further into the play, Prospero allows Ferdinand and Miranda to interact, and seeing their desire for one another he allows them to marry. Ferdinand displays noble intentions, assuring Prospero that he will not untie Miranda's "virgin knot" until they are formally married.

Much to his delight, Ferdinand is eventually re-united with his father and friends. They all return to Naples and Prospero regains his Dukedom.[1] As Samuel Johnson observed, the play thus ends in "the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested."[2]

Comparison to other characters[edit]

Steven H. Gale calls Ferdinand the Romeo of The Tempest.[3]

Cinematic portrayals[edit]

Reeve Carney plays as Ferdinand in the 2010 film.[4]


  1. ^ Sparknotes 101: Shakespeare. Spark Publishing. 2004. 1411400275.  p. 268-269
  2. ^ "Notes to The Tempest " in Johnson's Shakespeare, as printed in Johnson on Shakespeare ed. Arthur Sherbo, (The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson; vol. 7) p.135,
  3. ^ Steven H. Gale, Encyclopedia of British Humorists: Geoffrey Chaucer to John Cleese (Taylor & Francis, 1996), 946.
  4. ^ Borys Kit, "Two more storm ‘Tempest’cast," The Hollywood Reporter (13 Nov 2008).