How does Act III, scene 2 of "The Tempest" explore the theme of power?
Stephano's absurd exploitation of Caliban is a parody of the relationship between ruler and subject. At the same time, Caliban, who is willing to fulfill the role of servant to Stephano, tells of his tyrant master, Prospero. If Stephano agrees to murder Prospero, Caliban will serve Stephano, or so he says. Stephano relishes the idea of ruling a kingdom with Caliban and Trinculo as "viceroys." All the while, the three malefactors are under the control of Ariel, who knows their every move and ultimately foils their plot.
This scene explores the theme of power in many ways. First, it shows a portrait of scheming to get power. Second, their drunkenness is a metaphor for the intoxication a desire for power carries. Third, the interactions of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo show us a society in microcosm: how different individuals claim power and authority, and how they threaten violence almost casually. Fourth, the inability to see Ariel demonstrates the blindness of many who plot for power.