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Ariel is a supporting character in Shakespeare's The Tempest. He is a spirit who serves Prospero the Magician when he saves him from Sycorax.
Ariel is first seen alongside Prospero during the second scene of of the first act. He reveals that he was once a prisoner to the evil witch Sycorax prior to Prospero's arrival on the island. Upon Prospero's exile from Milan by his brother Antonio, Prospero encountered Ariel trapped by the witch and freed her.
Following her release Ariel owed Prospero his life and became his loyal servant afterwards, assisting him when his brother and his crew wash ashore on the island during the second act. Alongside Prospero, they use their magic to cause Antonio's crew to believe Prospero is far more powerful than they originally thought (and thus abandon the plan to assassinate him).
After both Prospero and Antonio reconcile, Ariel asks Prospero that now that he has his title of Duke of Milan restored, if that means he will grant his wish of freeing him from his servitude. Prospero agrees to that wish, buttony once they return to the mainland, to which Ariel becomes overjoyed.
- Ariel is male, but he has sometimes been played by women.