Stereotypes In The Tempest

1352 Words 6 Pages
“Comic characterisation is usually subordinate to the demands of the plot and therefore these characters tend to be stereotypes and/or one-dimensional characters rather than portraying realistic human emotions”. Is this a fair assessment of the ‘low characters’ in The Tempest?
The prevalence of stereotyping and having ‘flat’ characters may be attributed to the strong archetype or creative flexibility (respectively) that this creates for the author. When the audience sees a stereotype, they already know what to expect from the character, allowing the writer to spend more time on using the character for the purpose that they were originally designed for – creating comedic moments and humour -rather than introducing them. Whether this is a fair assessment of Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo is to be decided.
To begin with, Trinculo is an example of a stereotype with more than one dimension to his character. Trinculo is in the unique position of having the comedy not only being likely to come from him, but it
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Trinculo and Stephano have elements that their initial appearance or personality wouldn’t suggest; Caliban has many traits that are unexpected of his character, and at no point does he change due to the demands of the plot for no reason. This is why I don’t think that the statement in the question is a fair assessment of the ‘low characters’ in The Tempest, as they could have just as easily been ‘the fool’ and ‘the savage native’ but instead Trinculo and especially Caliban are two of the more interesting characters in the play.

Word Count – 1286
Bibliography
1 - http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/criticism/hazlittw_charsp/charsp_ch10.html – “Characters of Shakespeare 's Plays – The Tempest”, William Hazlitt
The Tempest – Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare Edition, William

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