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1 an airy spirit in Shakespeare's The Tempest;

2 a rebel angel in Milton's Paradise Lost (VI. 371);

3 in Pope's Rape of the Lock (II. 53 ff.) the chief of the sylphs.

Shakespeare's character 1. has inspired many later writers to identify the name ‘Ariel’ with poetic imagination: T. S. Eliot called five Christmas poems (1927–54) ‘Ariel poems’; the first Penguin paperback was Maurois' life of Shelley called Ariel (1935); and there have been several literary journals with ‘Ariel’ as title. See also Plath, S.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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