In the play The Tempest, written by Shakespeare, Ferdinand is the son of Alonso who is the King of Naples. With Miranda, he forms a pair for which any reader of the play cares till the end. As Stephen H. Gale said, Ferdinand is “the Romeo of The Tempest.”
When it comes to the development of the play, Ferdinand’s character is not a very active character. He is washed ashore on the island separately, as planned by Prospero through his magical power.
He is brought to confront Miranda through the same magic. Their coming together is entire without any obstruction or effort. Prospero pretentiously punishes him with a petty job of piling up tree logs. The humility of his character is shown when he does the job without any question and already in deep love with Miranda.
Ferdinand has no critical faculty of his own in the play. His union with Miranda is seemingly an innocent one but in reality, it serves Prospero’s political purpose. By using this union, Prospero devices his own strategy to dissolve his brother’s act of exiling him 12 years ago.
His character does show a great capacity for true love on its part. From the very first sight, both Miranda and Ferdinand are in love and just a day is enough for them to commit to each other for always. It almost feels like happening under the magic of Prospero.
Ferdinand is handsome and looks completely harmless. Miranda says of him that “there’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple (Ferdinand). If the ill spirit have so fair a house (Ferdinand), good things will strive to dwell with it.”
His character shows complete faith in the idea of love. When he is carrying those logs (branches) as punishment by Prospero, he does so with deep faith in Miranda’s goodness.
He is unlike Alonso or Prospero. He stands for innocence. He promises truly. He has absolute control over his mortal desires like lust. He observes his promise to not “untie the virgin knot” with Miranda before the ceremony of marriage.
Apart from early assumption regarding his father’s death after the shipwreck, everything almost good happens to him. He has met many women before Miranda because he says, “full many a lady I have eyed with best regards” but he vows to not violate chastity before the marriage.
His character serves towards the lighter romantic aspect of the play.