Antonio and Sebastian are villains in the play. Antonio is the younger brother of Prospero. Sebastian is the younger brother of Alonso. They hatch a plot to kill Alonso. Both have some common features as rogues. But still there are some points of difference between the two. Antonio is a born schemer. Sebastian becomes a schemer by persuasion, Antonio is thorough a villain whereas Sebastian hesitates a lot before actually becoming a party to the plot.
Antonio is a greater rogue than Sebastian. He plotted against his own elder brother. Prospero and threw him out of the dukedom of Milan. Twelve years before the shipwreck, Prospero was the duke of Milan. He did not take any interest in the state affairs. He handed over the charge of his dukedom to Antonio. He devoted himself to the study of books. Antonio took advantage of the situation. He allied with Alonso. the King of Naples and promised to pay him an annual tribute and threw Prospero out of his kingdom. On Prospero’s island we once again find him active in his intrigues. To gel rid of the trouble of paying the tribute to Alonso, he plans to murder Alonso He seeks the support of Sebastian in this plan. Sebastian shows some hesitation in the beginning: But he is soon won over by the convincing arguments of Antonio. Antonio presents before Sebastian a rosy picture of his future. He gives Sebastian his own example and assures him of success in the plot. Antonio also plans to kill Gonzalo for avoiding future dangers. Antonio is more wicked than Sebastian. Antonio is a seasoned villain while Sebastian is merely a tyro.
Both Antonio and Sebastian are mean and cowardly plotters. They have no kind word, for Alonso over the supposed loss of his son, Ferdinand. They make fun of the sincere and serious efforts of Gonzalo to console him. The loss of Ferdinand leaves both of them unmoved. Sebastian is seen in his true colours when he becomes critical of Alonso’s actions. He does not share Alonso’s grief. On the other hand, he holds him responsible for bringing about the tragic event of the shipwreck. Both conspire against their brothers. Both prove ungrateful cheats. The only difference in their treachery is that of degree. One is active and frank in his suggestion. The other is slow and suggestive. Both of them dare not come out openly against their brothers. Antonio played a trick on Alonso and left him at the mercy of the waves. The murder of Alonso was planned when he was asleep.
Both Antonio and Sebastian are unrepentant. Prospero’s forgiveness does not effect them at all. Antonio has no conscience. Sebastian does not give any proof of having any conscience.