Return to Ariel (person)

Ariel is the name of the air spirit (sylph) bound to Prospero in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Cletus the Foetus notes that Prospero refers to Ariel in the masculine. I'd contend that Shakespeare's Ariel, as an inhuman being of ambiguous form, transcends gender. It's not unusual to find women cast in Ariel's role in modern stage productions of Shakespeare's play.

In Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser novels, Ariel is recast as the "body servant" of the wererat Lady Hisvet. There's a titillating scene (in Swords of Lankhmar, I think) where Ariel pleasures The Gray Mouser as Hisvet whispers naughty nothings in his ear, claiming a "demoiselle of Lankhmar" (i.e. Hisvet) is too refined and delicate to directly engage in such loveplay. In this story, Ariel retains much of her manner (if not her dignity) from The Tempest.

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