Caliban and Trinculo are hiding underneath Caliban’s cloak because they are afraid of the storm and of what other beings are approaching them. Stefano has discovered what he thinks is a creature with four legs and two heads, which is really Caliban’s and Trinculo’s legs next to each other and both of their voices. The use of language in this extract differs between characters. Stefano’s use of language is blunt and basic English.
The fact that he is drunk adds to the effect that his words are slightly slurred. Stefano and Trinculo are both very low down in the hierarchy, Stefano is the Alonso’s butler and Trinculo is his jester, and this also means that they would not have been taught proper English and so would not have been able to speak in clear, full sentences even when they were not scared of the storm and drunk. Caliban’s language however is a lot nobler and it is of much better English than those of Trinculo and Stefano.
This is strange because it would be much more correct to have it the other way around with Trinculo and Stefano speaking better English than Caliban. The reason for this is because when Prospero first discovered Caliban, he treated him nicely and with some respect and Miranda also taught him to speak properly and eloquently and so he sounds like a nobler creature than he actually appears to others. Stefano plays a minor role in the play but provides much of the humour and acts as a contrast between those characters high up in the hierarchy and Caliban.
Stefano and Trinculo do no measure up to characters like Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio, but both men have very similar characters. Trinculo’s role in the play is to convey to the audience the comedy and humour that most of the traditional plays of that time contained. However, because he, like Stefano, sees Caliban as a source of future income, he gets jealous because Caliban has chosen Stefano to be his master. When the opportunity arises, he is more interested in getting as much as he can than in fairness.
There are many different themes to Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest’, and they all occur frequently. One of these is sovereignty. It is connected repeatedly to Alonso and the usurpation of the throne of Naples and of the Dukedom of Milan. The occurrence of this theme in this passage is when Stefano has just discovered Trinculo hiding from the storm underneath Caliban’s cloak and Trinculo says, ‘And art thou living, Stefano? O Stefano, two Neapolitans ‘scaped? ‘ Trinculo is asking Stefano if they are the only two people to survive the storm.
They think that they are the only ones to survive and so they now believe that they are in line for the throne now that the king, his son and all of the others are out of the way. This also connects to the theme of usurpation which is also echoed frequently throughout the play. Other examples of usurpation in this extract and throughout the play are numerous. One of the main ones is when Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo whilst they slept in order to take over the throne of Naples together.