The Tempest

Back to List of Characters


Here is the newly formatted HTML content:

Iris is a fascinating character in William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. As one of the spirits summoned by the powerful sorcerer Prospero, Iris plays a crucial role in the magical events that unfold on the enchanted island.

Although Iris is not a major character in terms of stage time, her presence is essential to the overall ambiance of the play. She represents the spirit of the rainbow and is often portrayed as a messenger of the gods. Her appearance is described as ethereal and beautiful, with shimmering wings and a radiant aura.

One of the most memorable moments involving Iris occurs in Act IV, when she joins forces with two other spirits, Ceres and Juno, to perform a spectacular masque for the entertainment of the play's human characters. This masque celebrates the union of Ferdinand and Miranda, and Iris plays a pivotal role in orchestrating the enchanting spectacle.

The Symbolism of Iris

While Iris may seem like a minor character, her symbolism runs deep throughout the play. As the spirit of the rainbow, she represents the bridge between the mortal world and the realm of magic. Her presence reminds us of the fantastical nature of the island and the power that Prospero wields over it.

Furthermore, Iris symbolizes hope and renewal. In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods. Her appearance in The Tempest signifies a turning point in the play, where the characters begin to find redemption and forgiveness.

Additionally, Iris serves as a reminder of the beauty and wonder of the natural world. In a play that explores themes of colonization and the abuse of power, Iris provides a much-needed counterpoint with her connection to the elements and her ability to bring joy and awe to those who witness her.

In conclusion, Iris may be a minor character in terms of stage time, but her significance in The Tempest cannot be overlooked. As a symbol of hope, renewal, and the beauty of the natural world, Iris adds depth and magic to the play, reminding us of the transformative power of forgiveness and the wonders that lie beyond the boundaries of our mortal realm.