A Slave With Rights

Stephen is a character in Django Unchained that plays a very unexpected role. He is said to play the role of a slave that belongs to Mister Candie, but is he in fact a slave or is he a loyal companion?

When looked closely upon, one may question the position that Stephen holds in Calvin Candies house. You wouldn’t expect a slave to be on such good terms with his master as Stephen is with Mister Candie. The way that any other slaves were treated, compared to the way that Stephen was treated, were two totally different scenarios. Stephen lived with Mister Candie, and should have been abiding by his orders, but instead we see him doing as he pleases throughout the whole time that his character is on screen. He chooses to disagree with Calvin Candie on certain issues, and he isn’t afraid to voice his opinions, his opinions are actually valued by Mister Candie, and he is even seen looking out for Mister Candie, as if he was his “right hand man”.
We have been taught to believe that during this period in the United States, people of similar races stuck together because they had common goals; in this case the blacks wanted to be free, but Stephen is a walking contradiction. He is black, he is a slave, but in a sense he is free. Out of his own free will (that so happened to be given to him by Mister Candie) he chooses to out Django and Dr. Shultz to Mister Candie, on their plan to free Broomhilda. He chooses to treat the other slaves in the house as inferior to him, and he doesn’t mind inflicting pain on those that he should be sticking by. This all shows that he cares more about staying loyal to his master, and being on his master’s good side, than caring about the wellbeing of his own people.

Stephen is an example of a person that will try to rise above his circumstances, and step on whoever he has to, to get there. He is a slave, but a slave with privileges, privileges that he has gained by staying loyal to the one person that we would all expect to be an enemy of his.