At his first appearance on the stage, young Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples, being miraculously saved from drowning, mourns his father’s supposed death and only the mysterious music and singing of Ariel and his kin distracts him by its beauty. The music leads him to Miranda, so, stunned by her beauty, he falls in love with her at the first sight and promptly offers her the crown of Naples, if she has no other affection and is still a virgin, of course. It is not as stupid line as it can seem to a contemporary reader: Miranda is fourteen, it is a marriage age at the given period, and Ferdinand does not know her marital status – well, he does not know if there is anybody else alive at this island. But she is a classic maiden fair, so don’t blame Ferdinand for his hasted love confession; he had survived a life threating situation and possible death of his beloved father. Blinded by his love, Ferdinand accepts Prospero’s punishment and does his chores almost gladly, for he knows that he is serving Miranda.
Ferdinand is an example of a perfect young noble-born: he loves and respects his father, never thinking about the crown of Naples as a desirable reward, and his joy at discovery of his father alive is flawless and sincere. He shows obedience to Prospero’s orders, being taught to respect the older ones; his speech is as gallant as possible in given circumstances. Generally, Ferdinand is a symbol of hope for new generation, for “brave new world” that will not repeat the mistakes of the past; his marriage to Miranda is also a key to Prospero’s success in restoring his dukedom, which means the restoration of justice – just like the old magician had planned.
Ferdinand in the Essays