Prospero is the deposed Duke of Milan.
He was rather a failure as Duke, spending most of his time cooped up in his library and allowing his brother Antonio to surreptitiously take over the state before finally doing so by force. He is learned, and in continuous study: every day he spends three hours reading in his study. He is also versed in the magical arts, though most of his magic is in fact performed by Ariel, who is bound to him in service. Protective of his daughter, he does not tell her of their history, nor for that matter of the existence of other human beings, until the day she is to meet the various people responsible for their exile. He is capable of harsh threats to keep his servants in line, and scarcely utters a kind word to Caliban. He promises Ariel his freedom, though there is always another task to do first; the spirit will not in fact be free until all the persons on the island have safely reached home. He is concerned for the safety of the innocents on board the ship, and though he wishes revenge on the various people who betrayed him he comes to consider that the pains they have suffered on the island suffice as purgation, and that forgiveness is the better course. He is delighted when Ferdinand and Miranda fall for each other, though he sets himself up as a tyrannical father to test their love and is strongly in favor of pre-marital abstinence. Though he succeeds in his goal of recovering his Dukedom, it is at the price of having to abandon his magic when he leaves the island.