The Dramatic Importance of Antonio and Sebastian

Good Essays
The Dramatic Importance of Antonio and Sebastian

Antonio and Sebastian are dramatically significant in the play for

several reasons. Shakespeare has used them to represent several

themes and human characteristics for comparison within the play. He

presents them in a number of ways and their relationships with other

characters are objects of great interest to the audience.

Although they are the representatives of the evil in human nature and

the lack of repent they also provide great humour in the play. Their

witty exchanges and mocking of other characters is unkind yet the

audience enjoys it. Gonzalo in particular suffers from their harsh

sense of humour,

Sebastian: ‘Look, he’s winding up the watch of his

wit; by and by it

will strike-’

At the same time as adding to the comedy, Antonio in particular is

adding to the dark side of the play as they often discuss murder

without even mentioning it as wrong. Sebastian displays weakness of

character in succumbing to Antonio’s plan and therefore represents

this as a flaw leading to outrageous consequences in an otherwise

respectable man. Here we may compare him with Macbeth who was also

persuaded by another allowing his hidden evil to surface.

With these characters I believe Shakespeare is aiming to prove that

money and birth alone cannot make a man who is essentially evil,

respectable. The pair are hungry for power unlike Caliban who also

plots to murder yet he believes riches and wealth are worthless. By

comparing them to him we realise that Caliban who is named

‘uncivilised’ has far more understandable reason to act t...

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...from these two which shows his weakness of character or

perhaps even plain stupidity. They were invited to his daughter’s

wedding in Tunis so they must be on fairly good terms with the king

yet even on the return journey they mock him by nastily blaming him

for the loss of his daughter in his rate. Sebastian says,

‘Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss,’

This is very unkind to an already desperately upset man. Antonio and

Sebastian’s nastiness to others does not end here. They continually

mock others particularly Gonzalo and Adrian.

In conclusion, Antonio and Sebastian are both evil men who contribute

to the play in terms of plot direction, humour and in underlying

darkness. Their characters are colourful and interesting, representing

several flaws in human character and some of the plays themes.
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