Trinculo and Stephano of Shakespeare's Tempest


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Trinculo and Stephano of Shakespeare's Tempest

 

        Trinculo and Stephano though not major characters in  William

Shakespeare's The Tempest, serve a large role in the story itself.  They

mainly serve as the story's comic relief and they also contribute to

demonstrating to the audience how evil has no boundaries.  Much of the play

revolves around Prospero's contempt for everyone who betrayed him, and

Prospero forces the conspirators to a remote island.  Trinculo and Stephano

had nothing to do with the plot against Prospero, but end up being dragged

along with the conspirators.  Their parts were small but were probably the

most interesting in the story.

 

        Trinculo and Stephano were primarily used for comic relief.  Comic

relief is very important because the story must be able to keep the

audience interested.  What better to make someone laugh than a pair of

drunk servants.  During the duration of the story their drunkenness causes

them to do things that normally they wouldn't do.  They blindly attempt to

take on Prospero, a powerful sorcerer and scheme how to defeat and kill him.

Who in their sober mind take on an all powerful sorcerer?  This is quite

amusing because it shows us how incredibly foolish we act when we are drunk.

Of course their attempt to take on Prospero proves to be futile, instead

they play dress up with his cloaks and when Prospero shows up, Stephano and

Trinculo run for their lives and leave Calaban behind carrying the clothes

they attempted to steal.

 

        Trinculo and Stephano were also quite amusing by being drunk

throughout the entire story, they even stated that they wouldn't drink

anything else until the wine ran out.  "Tell not me.  When the butt is out,

we will drink a drop of water, not a drop before."(Tempest 288)

 

        Trinculo and Stephano also contribute to the play the idea that

evil in men shows no boundaries.  While Antonio and Ferdinand are making a

plot to kill the King, Alonso, for power, Trinculo and Stephano are doing

the same towards Prospero.  They were enchanted by the story told by

Calaban that they would become in charge of the island once Prospero was

disposed of.  Another display of their lack to purity comes in the speech

by Trinculo on finding the resting Calaban.  Trinculo stated that if he

were back home that he would have people pay to see Calaban.  "Were I in

England now, as I once was, and had but this fish painted, not a holiday

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fool there but would give a piece of silver"(Tempest 281)  He was trying to

exploit Calaban.  Afterwards, they dupe Calaban into thinking they're gods

and take more advantage of him.

 

        Shakespeare used Trinculo and Stephano as comic relief primarily

but also used to demonstrate the evil in our nature.  In a way, he seemed

to have been condemning humans.  This story is a prime example of the

selfishness, egocentrism, and power hunger that we see and deal with every

day.  Trinculo and Stephano were two characters used to show how wrong we

human beings really are.


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