Ariel is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest. He is a spirit of the air who serves as Prospero's loyal servant and magical aide. Ariel is known for his ability to manipulate the elements and perform feats of magic.
As described in the play, Ariel was once imprisoned by the witch Sycorax in a tree on the island where The Tempest takes place. However, when Prospero arrived on the island, he freed Ariel from his captivity. In gratitude, Ariel pledged his service to Prospero and became bound to him by a magical contract.
Ariel's main role in the play is to carry out Prospero's commands and help him with his magical endeavors. He is responsible for creating the storm that shipwrecks Prospero's enemies on the island, setting the events of the play into motion. Throughout the play, Ariel demonstrates his versatility and skill in performing various tasks assigned to him by Prospero.
Ariel is characterized by his ethereal nature and his ability to change forms. He can appear as a spirit, a harpy, or even invisible to others. This shape-shifting ability allows him to move swiftly and carry out his assignments without being detected.
In addition to his magical abilities, Ariel is also known for his compassion and empathy. Despite being bound to Prospero, Ariel shows concern for the well-being of those affected by Prospero's actions. He often questions Prospero's motives and urges him to show mercy to his enemies.
Ariel's character represents the conflict between servitude and freedom. Though he is indebted to Prospero, Ariel longs to be free and yearns for his release. This desire for freedom drives Ariel's actions throughout the play and adds depth to his character.
Overall, Ariel is a complex and multi-dimensional character in The Tempest. His magical abilities, shape-shifting nature, and inner conflict make him an intriguing and memorable figure in the play.