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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trinculo and Stephano

After having read The Tempest a few times, it was a treat to finally see it performed. I thought the portrayals of Trinculo and Stephano were quite good. The play portrayed Trinculo and Stephano as being rather close. They are together on the island following a ship wreck, drinking from the same bottle, and enslaving Caliban to the notion that they are gods. The relationship between these two is very much satirized. Their relationship is portrayed within the confines of a normal human marital relationship. Affection is very evident in their relationship. They even have a small conflict that is present in many relationships. Stephano is the dominant person in the relationship, while Trinculo is not necessarily submissive, but he is not the decision maker.
The entire purpose of the tempest, according to Prospero at least, was to find someone for Miranda to marry. Within the context of the time the play was written, a heterosexual relationship would have been the norm. However, Shakespeare puts Stephano and Trinculo’ relationship into a comedic light. I think this is his way of subtly exposing homosexuality to his audience in a manner that would not get him censored. To bring homosexuality up in a humorous light might seem insulting, but Shakespeare does bring it up.

1 comment:

  1. I find it interesting that you discuss the possibility of an implicit homo-erotic relationship between these two characters. Again, Shakespeare goes into representations of power with who does and does not make the decisions. While I don't necessarily see it as a homosexual relationship, though male interactions can certainly be classified on some level of homo-eroticism, it seems to have more to do with varying levels of masculinity. To say that Trinculo is a submissive homosexual because he does not make decisions is damaging to his character. On the other hand, if I am to accept your analysis, what do you think this representation of homosexuality says about the views toward it at the time? Are gay men in the renaissance drunken fools who couple based on heterosexual perceptions of gender?