Essay on the Roles of Trinculo and Stephano in The Tempest

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The Roles of Trinculo and Stephano in The Tempest Trinculo and Stephano have two major roles in The Tempest - comic relief and the theme of exploration. Because of this double nature to their characters, they are more important than they initially appear. The Tempest is a comedy. The play may not seem to fit into the category of comedy as it exists today; but in the 17th century comedy was very different. Certainly, The Tempest would never be confused with a modern television comedy - the art of comedy has evolved too far. The main plot of the play - the plot involving Prospero regaining his rightful position as the Duke of Milan - seem to be overly serious for a comedy. The scenes containing Trinculo and…show more content…
Shakespeare removes any superfluousness about them in act III, scene II, in which he links them into the main plot by creating their desire to overthrow Prospero and rule the island. This idea in itself is amusing, as it is evident from the beginning that the drunken trio of Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban do not have the slightest chance against Prospero and his Art, as is shown later, in act V, scene I. This link with Prospero and the other characters in tenuous, however, and Trinculo and Stephano never seem to fit particularly comfortably into the play as a whole; perhaps this is because their humorous scenes contrast so greatly with the seriousness of the rest of the play. It must always be remembered that The Tempest was written for an audience that existed over 300 years ago, so some elements are inevitably going to seem somewhat unusual. Something else that distinguishes them from the other main characters is that they appear to have been written as stereotypes - one is a jester, the other is a drunken butler - whereas the other characters all have very carefully defined, individual characters. There is also something a little more complex involved in Trinculo and Stephano's characters, though. At the time that The Tempest was written, people were fascinated by the New World and exploration, and marvelled at strange creatures brought back
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