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Miranda
Miranda-FrederickGoodall

Real Name

Miranda

First Appearance

The Tempest

Created by

William Shakespeare

Miranda is the only daughter of the wizard Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, in William Shakespeare's The Tempest (believed to have been written and performed circa 1610, but not published until 1623). She later goes on to marry Prince Ferdinand of Naples.

Origin

When she was no more than three years old, her uncle Antonio usurped the duchy from his brother and condemned Prospero and Miranda to be exiled at the sea, abandoning them on "a rotten carcass of a boat", unsuited for sailing. According to Prospero, this was a period of great despair, and seeing his daughter smiling besides him was the only thing that gave him enough strength to survive the ordeal. Fortunately, they eventually came ashore on a mystical uncharted island where Prospero continued his magical studies and raised and educated Miranda as well as he could. Still, she knew little about civilization and had only the vaguest memories from the time before their exile.

Initially, their survival on the island was also aided by a native monstrous creature named Caliban, whom they treated with great respect and kindness. Miranda even though Caliban to speak. However, the situation changed when Caliban, in his savage nature, attempted to rape Miranda, being only stopped by the timely arrival of Prospero, who came to her rescue. After this, Caliban was made a slave and confined to a rock.

When Miranda was 15 years old, the royal Neapolitan fleet ship passed close to the island, bringing along the same people who had wronged Prospero in the past - namely his brother Antonio and King Alonso. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, Prospero ordered his servant air sprite Ariel to create a tempest and capture these people, bringing them safely ashore. He also saw an opportunity to find a husband for Miranda. Thus, Ariel left Alonso and his men in one part of the island; and Alonso's son Prince Ferdinand in another, with each believing the other to have perished during what the supposed shipwreck.

When Miranda met Prince Ferdinand (the third man she ever saw, after her father and the inhuman Caliban), they both fell deeply in love with each other. Even though Prospero was pleased by this, he still wanted to test the Prince's value and thus pretended to be extremely strict, calling Ferdinand an impostor and ordering him to carry enormous quantities of wood.

Once he was convinced that Ferdinand's feelings were genuine, Prospero called his spirits to produce a great magical spectacle in which they assumed the appearance of Ancient Greek goddesses and blessed the couple.

At the end of the play, Ferdinand is happy to reunite with his father Alonso. Prospero and Alonso make amends and forgive each other's mistakes, with the former being restored to his position as the rightful Duke (much to the dismay of Antonio). As the king too blessed the union of Miranda and Ferdinand, everyone embarked back to Europe to attend their wedding.

Notes

  • Besides the many background nymphs who inhabit the island, Miranda is the only female character in the play, although others are mentioned such as Sycorax and Princess Claribel. Furthermore, the air sprite Ariel has often been portrayed as female.

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