In the Tempest, the character of Prospero is the protagonist and the most important character. Prospero is the father of Miranda and used to be the legitimate Duke of Milan. Unfortunately his treacherous brother Antonio stole his title and banished Prospero to a Mediterranean island with Miranda. There he has spent twelve years refining the magic that gives him the power he needs to punish and reconcile with his enemies.
The first impression of Prospero is of a magician, doting father, then as a master. In fact his main role in the story is to educate and teach a lesson. A great lover of the arts and in particular books, Prospero has harnessed the powers of magic whilst in exile. He plays the god in the play and has knowledge of the past, present and future. Prospero is indeed very knowledgeable. But he also has to bring up Miranda in the most appropriate way possible by showing her all the virtues of a princess.
Prospero is a powerful man, which makes him a good leader. He also has control, because he can be harsh and firm but also virtuous towards others. He seems to know exactly what and when something is going to happen which makes his task simple.
But the pursuit of knowledge gets Prospero into trouble in the first place. By neglecting everyday matters when he was duke, he gave his brother a chance to rise up against him. To a certain extent we can say that Prospero is too trusting. He trusted his brother, and this ‘trust’ awaked an evil nature. He also trusted Caliban who afterwards tried to rape Miranda.
His possession and use of magical knowledge renders him extremely powerful and not entirely sympathetic. His punishments of Caliban are petty and vindictive, as he calls upon his spirits to pinch Caliban when he curses. He is defensively autocratic with Ariel. For example, when Ariel reminds his master of his promise to relieve him of his duties early if he performs them willingly, Prospero bursts into fury and threatens to return him to his former imprisonment and torment. He is similarly unpleasant in his treatment of Ferdinand, leading him to his daughter and then imprisoning and enslaving him.