When Stephen’s involvement in almost all the affairs in Candyland is scrutinized a little closely, One begin to wonder, how did a slave ascend to that kind of a stature. As we saw from the film, Stephen’s advise and inputs was second to none in the plantation among the other slaves. What make him so powerful and important? Is it because he has lived in Candyland longer than any other slave. Or is it because he has been loyal through the years. But the portrayal and demeanor of Stephen in the film suggest that of a manipulative and cunning individual that won’t hesitate to destroy anyone on his path in other to achieve a good standing in the eyes of his master.
For Stephen to have so much influence and able to earn unqualified trust of Calvin Candie, a sadistic, power driven, evil slaves owner is a sort of a mystery. His inputs are so important that he was able to make Mr. Candie attend to what ever he has to say in a middle of a business transaction with Dr. Schultz and Django Freeman. Has Stephen in the past foiled a major insurrection by the slaves by making the plan known to the master even when he was a critical player in the making of the plan. By so doing having those other slaves killed, but him becoming the master’s right hand man.
If his portrayal is that of a manipulative person, then the trajectory of the loyalty maybe multifaceted or mischievous. Was his high stature because of his hard work or was it because of his lust for power to the extent of being against the other slaves?. Or is his loyalty due to the long years in servitude?. We know from the movie that Stephen knows the plantation very well, he has the ears of his master, he is consulted in any affairs that takes place in the plantation, especially those that has to deal with the other slaves. He is revered at the same time feared by the other slaves. He is another kind of slave. A slave with so much power that almost equal that of the master. But this loyalty that gave him so much power can also be questionable. We saw from the scene before he met his death in the hands of Django that he was not really crippled but a show he put on at the plantation. With that kind of an act, one has no other inclination but to assume also that his loyalty towards his master was not genuine. If there is another alternative, Stephen will be against his masters also.
Though the film is presented in a comic style by Tarantino, it deals with the actual power dynamics that existed within slavery in the slave era.