Ariel belongs to the world of airy spirits. He is a bodiless creature. That is why he cannot be seen by the human eye. He is visible only to Prospero’s magic eye. Although he is a spirit of the air, yet he is quite at home even on the earth.
Nothing is known about his parentage. We come to know-that he was imprisoned within a pine tree for disobedience by Sycorax. When Prospero came to the Island, he saved him from his twelve years’ imprisonment. Ariel was thankful to Prospero for his liberation. He agreed to serve Prospero in return for his release.
Ariel is a great lover of freedom. As he is a spirit of the air, slavery is foreign to his nature. When we meet him for the first time, he is moody and gloomy. He wishes to be as free as the mountain winds. Like air and tired he can enter everywhere. He can take any shape he likes. He can measure the depth of the sea; climb the mountains, and raise storms. He can carry out any commands given to him. On several occasions Prospero repeats his promise of freedom to Ariel. Because of his great love for freedom, sometimes he gets impatient with Prospero.
Ariel has a strong sense of duty. He feels very happy by serving his master. He takes pride in doing so. He is unlike Caliban who is always grumbling and protesting. Ariel’s child-like simplicity is easily flattered by a few words of praise for his services.
Ariel is a lover of mischief. His playful nature is clearly seen in the enthusiasm with which he performs his duties. He foils the plot against Prospero by Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano. H6 played his tricks and left the three conspirators in a pond full of foul smelling mud. But his mischief making is harmless. He is powerful but not cruel.
There is a human touch in the nature of Ariel. He feels touched with sympathy at the miserable condition of the king and his followers. It is indeed remarkable that an airy spirit should have such a human heart.
Ariel serves the purpose of an agency to punish the sinners He rebukes Sebastian Antonio and Alonso for their past sins He addresses them as being most unfit to live He also informs them that the only way out for them is to repent of their sin. Throughout the play Ariel is serving for same noble purpose the character becomes more attractive when compared with the ugly and the mean Caliban.
Ariel is a good, decent, and dignified spirit. He hates what is filthy. He had refused to my out the dirty commands of the witch, Sycorax. For this disobedience, he was imprisoned in a pine tree. He is the king among the supernatural Spirits. He carries out the orders of his master promptly and efficiently. That is why Prospero praises his services from time to time. He also gives Ariel the promised fieedom.