Ferdinand is a man straddling two worlds, and often at the mercy of higher powers. As the prince of Naples, he is not only linked to Alonso but also Antonio, the cause of Prospero’s suffering and ire. Separated from civilization, Ferdinand finds himself drawn inexplicably to the natural world of the island, as he immediately falls in love with Miranda. However, falling for her centers him directly in Prospero’s crosshairs. As Alonso’s heir and Miranda’s suitor, Ferdinand becomes yet another pawn in Prospero’s game of chess, manipulated and maneuvered to serve Prospero's agenda.
It is notable just how quickly Ferdinand’s focus on his own passengers falls by the wayside upon meeting Miranda. On the one hand, this could speak to the pure, unadulterated love that he feels for her, but it could also be seen as an indication of just how malleable he is under the right command, particularly as the magically influential Prospero accuses Ferdinand of falsifying his title and forces him to perform acts of labor.
Despite the numerous forces puppeteering their actions, the love and affection Ferdinand and Miranda feel for one another is seen as a victory. Still, the manner in which their relationship was formed evokes a sense of unease. Prospero reveals Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess at the end of the play with a showman-like flourish, and while the surrounding players are pleased that Ferdinand is alive and soon to be married, the pair does provide Prospero with the freedom he has schemed for. Though Ferdinand and Miranda have found love, they are still as much a part of Prospero’s machinations as the other players on the chessboard. What’s more, the game of chess may hint at future trouble. A chess game ends when the king is dead, which inevitably births the reign of the next king. Though the play’s ending is a happy one for Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda, the narrative of regicide looms large, and Miranda’s accusation that Ferdinand “[played] her false” rings ominous.