In the play The Tempest, Gonzalo is a secondary character but his knowledge makes him only second to Prospero. Gonzalo is an old adviser to the King of Naples. Due to his honesty, he is fully trusted by the king. Throughout the play, his character shows the good of humanity.
When the ship is about to be wrecked, Gonzalo shows his wisdom by the way he interprets the character of the officer of the ship. He has remarkable patience earned with age.
Prospero, while telling Miranda about their history, points out that Gonzalo is “a noble Neapolitan.” When he was exiled from his own Dukedom, it was Gonzalo who put them on a boat instead of executing them otherwise.
Gonzalo’s understanding of Prospero is so clear that he put books into the boat too which Prospero prized “above his dukedom.”
Once washed ashore, the whole group is divided under the magic spell of Prospero. Gonzalo finds himself with Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio, and others.
The personalities of Sebastian and Antonio are constituted of meaner elements. Even when they are disrespectful towards Gonzalo, he shows great reserve towards the petty aspect and rather focuses upon the King’s wellbeing.
When Antonio and Sebastian plan to kill King Alonso, Ariel whispers in the ears of Gonzalo to stop them from doing it. Shakespeare shows Gonzalo as the humane savior.
Sebastian and Antonio constantly complain about the island which must’ve been so unfamiliar to them but Gonzalo, showing his optimist worldview, says that “here is everything advantageous to life.”
When all are in despair, it is Gonzalo who reminds everyone of the “lush and luxuriant” side of whatever they face on the island.
Gonzalo has a great courtly command upon his words. Even when Antonio detests him, he points out that “his word is more than the miraculous harp.” Reflecting Shakespeare, Gonzalo understands that one thing can be differently experienced by different individuals.
Unlike everyone else, he sees Caliban in a less inhuman way. For him, he is not only a beast. Gonzalo’s character is an all-noble character in the play.