The Tempest

The Importance of Minor Characters in The Tempest and Doctor Faustus 11th Grade

Shakespeare’s minor characters are as often as diverse and essential to the plot as their protagonist counterparts, used within his plays to illuminate the main characters’ goals and feelings. The presence of these personages also expands upon the audience’s experience while giving audience members characters to which they can relate. In The Tempest, for example, Antonio helps to illuminate Prospero’s last hardships, creating sympathy with the audience, where as Shakespeare uses Stephano to parody Antonio, creating humour in this mockery.

The character of Antonio is introduced to the audience first in scene one, on the boat, and further explained in Prospero’s story about how he was forced to Milan. Prospero’s description of his brother, “Thy false uncle” and “that a brother should be so perfidious”, gives the audience an indication as to the nature of the character. This would be seen as a biased statement, causing the audience to suspect Prospero’s interpretations, were it not for Antonio’s actions on the boat, where he proved himself to be an extremely disagreeable character in his treatment of those both lower that him in station, the Boatswain, and elder than him in wisdom, Gonzalo. For example, the quote “Hang cur! Hang...

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