Discussing Act 2 Scene 1 of The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Discussing Act 2 Scene 1 of The Tempest by William Shakespeare

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Discussing Act 2 Scene 1 of The Tempest by William Shakespeare In Act 2 Scene 1 of the play, The Tempest, the character Antonio is
trying to persuade Sebastian (the kings brother) to kill the king so
that Sebastian can own the crown. Antonio uses different language and
ways to persuade Sebastian to agree with his idea. Also you see
Antonio’s character change when he’s telling his idea as at first his
real personality was not shown and was hidden by an act.

At first Antonio seems loyal towards Alonso and you do not see his

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true character. He says to Alonso ‘Will guard your person while you
take your rest, and watch your safety.’ So he’s saying to Alonso that
he will look after him while he sleeps. So at that point when you are
a reader of the play you think that he means that with good
intentions. But just afterwards when Antonio talks to Sebastian you
find out his true character. Antonio has just said to Alonso that he
will protect Alonso from anything bad against him when he is the one
plotting to kill him. Antonio says to Sebastian ‘methinks I see it in
thy face, what thou shouldst be. Th’occasion speaks thee, and my
strong imagination sees a crown dropping upon thy head.’ When saying
this to Sebastian Antonio is saying that he sees in Sebastian’s face
that he should be king. And he’s meaning that he thinks Sebastian
should take over Alonso’s place as king. So even though Antonio has
not said a large amount you see the sudden change in his character
when he starts talking to Sebastian.

At first Sebastian is surprised by Antonio’s new behaviour because he
has never seen this side of Antonio. He can’t believe it so much that
he says ‘It is a sleepy language, and thou speak’st out of thy sleep.’
Sebastian thinks that Antonio is just talking nonsense because he is
half asleep and he does not mean any of it, so he does not take
Antonio seriously. Then Antonio carries on saying ‘wink’st whiles thou
art waking.’ Antonio says to Sebastian that he is not looking at the
possibilities. Sebastian replies ‘Thou dost snore distinctly’ Which
shows that he is not taking Antonio seriously but then he goes on to
say. ‘There’s meaning in thy snores.’ Sebastian is saying that even
though he still thinks that Antonio is talking half a sleep he does
think what Antonio is saying could make some sense. So Sebastian is
starting to be persuaded.

Antonio uses certain language to persuade Sebastian to take the crown.
He praises Sebastian so that Sebastian starts to think highly of
himself, so that he’ll take on the idea. Antonio says things to
Sebastian like ‘Ebbing men, indeed, most often do so near the bottom
run by their own fear, or sloth.’ He’s saying that Sebastian can’t
have fear and be lazy because unsuccessful men are like that. So
Antonio is hinting that Sebastian is far from unsuccessful, which is
praising him and trying to push him into the idea of being king. Just
after Antonio says that you see that his idea is starting to work on
Sebastian because then Sebastian says ‘Prithee say on. The setting of
thine eye and cheek proclaim a matter from thee; and a birth, indeed’
He responds to the praise that Antonio gives him saying that it is a
birth of a good idea. Also Antonio tries the technique of using
reasons to try and completely persuade Sebastian as he is nearly
there. He says that it is impossible that Ferdinand, the kings son, is
still alive. He even makes Sebastian to say that he thinks Ferdinand
is dead. He says ‘Will you grant with me that Ferdinand is drowned?’

At the beginning of their conversation both Antonio and Sebastian
speak. Antonio tries to lead the conversation but Sebastian keeps
cutting in. This shows that at the beginning of their conversation
Antonio has not got the powerful role of the conversation and they are
both about equal. But when it gets to the end of their conversation
and Antonio has nearly persuaded Sebastian, Antonio has long speeches
and Sebastian only says short things. This shows that Antonio has
gained power over the conversation and has persuaded Sebastian to
listen and to agree with his idea.

Sebastian brings up Prospero and says about how he remembers that
Antonio killed his brother. After Sebastian says this Antonio’s next
speech completely persuades Sebastian. Antonio says about how after he
killed his brother his garments were more elegant and he gained power
over people who then were just friends to him. ‘True; and look how
well my garments sit upon me, much feater then before. My brothers
servants were then my fellows, now they are my men.’ And he also says
that if they kill Alonso everyone will obey them except Gonzalo. After
saying this Sebastian then says ‘Draw thy sword; one stroke shall free
thee from the tribute which thou payest and I the king shall love
thee’ So now Sebastian is set on the idea of becoming king and he says
that he will become king and love Antonio. At the end Antonio says
draw together and the unite.

So throughout their conversation Antonio uses specific language and
different ways, like praise and reasons, to persuade Sebastian to
become king and his technique works.
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