|Others||Duke of Milan|
|Place of origin||Milan|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Created by||William Shakespeare|
|“|| We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.||”|
— Prospero, The Tempest, Act IV, Scene I
Prospero is a wizard and formerly the Duke of Milan, having been stripped of this position by his villainous brother Antonio.
As he was so dedicated to his magical studies and trusted his brother immensely, it was easy for Antonio to execute his betrayal by convincing most of Prospero's allies to turn against him and deposing him, allying himself with Alonso the king of Naples in order to do so. However, Prospero was still popular enough as a public figure that they didn't dare to kill him directly. Instead, Prospero and his three-years-old daughter Miranda were exiled away in a damaged boat and would certainly have perished in the sea if it wasn't for a noble councilor named Gonzalo, who secretly supplied the boat with food, clothes and other comforts, including Prospero's own magical books.
During the long trip through the sea, Prospero claims that his young daughter would smile at him with innocent joy that provided his only source of happiness. By sheer luck they arrived on a magical uncharted island inhabited only by a monstrous figure named Caliban and by nature spirits, including a kind spirit named Ariel who had been imprisoned in a pine tree. For twelve years Prospero inhabited the island, raising Miranda as well as he could and becoming the master of both Caliban and Ariel - having used his magic to free the latter from his dreadful imprisonment. At first, Caliban was treated with kindness and allowed to live in the same cave inhabited by Prospero and Miranda, who also taught him to speak their language. That situation changed when Caliban tried to rape Miranda, after which he was sentenced to live in the rocks and became little more than a slave to them.
Prospero's magical abilities include hypnotism, invisibility and assorted charms and spells. However, most times he prefers not to use magic himself but instead commands Ariel to do his bidding. His abilities seem to come mostly from his magical books, staff and mantle. Without them, he has little to no power.
- The character of Prospero is widely believed to have been at least partially inspired by Shakespeare's contemporary Dr. John Dee; an alchemist, occultist, magician, astrologer and agent of the Elizabethan government who also originated the codename "007" used by Ian Fleming's character James Bond.
- In Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the character of Prospero is equated with both John Dee himself and Subtle from Ben Jonson's The Alchemist.