What does Inkle Weaving and Thomas Inkle have in common?
As defined by wikipedia Inkle weaving can be described as “…a type of warp-faced weaving where the shed is created by manually raising or lowering the warp yarns, some of which are held in place by fixed heddles on a loom known as an ankle loom.”
Ultimately, Inkle weaving was primarily of use predating the 1930’s by many centuries. It was used to make a embroidery/tape/braid which could be utilized as a trimming, or decorative needlework. In the early 18th century, Inkle was mainly used to wrap legal documents and such. The characteristics of Inkle could be described as decorative in embroidery detail, very beautiful, and tightly woven with not much give or stretch.
Richard Steele’s tragic story “Inkle and Yarico”, which was first published in the Spectator Issue 11 March 13, 1711, is about a young man, Thomas Inkle, who luckily falls into the hands of a young indian girl, Yarico, who protects him from her tribal men. In turn, Inkle brings her back to english territory leaving Yarico to believe that their love is true. However soon after, Inkle forgets the kindness which poor Yarico has showed him and instead sells her into slavery.
Thomas Inkle could be described as a cold calculating man (deep down) due to him choosing the path which was in turn, the most giving to him. While handsome and charming on the outside, Inkle had no give or mercy for poor Yarico. Reality struck him when he arrived back in Barbados, and he remembered about his engagement to the Mayors daughter. A marriage which would supply him with plenty and would have many advantages. So he sold Yarico into slavery to get rid of her. But really, he could have let her free instead of being so cruel.
I guess what you can say is that like the tape Inkle, which was woven on a loom and is very tedious and painstakingly hard to make, Thomas Inkle is someone of charm whose head does not have much room to give free thought of better options for poor Yarico. While beautiful like the tape, his life is what bound Yarico into a life of labor even though she was “as free born as he”, similar to how the tape was used to wrap legal documents and secure them in place.
There are many comparisons that could be drawn between the two, which is what makes the play comical and sad simultaneously. Thomas Inkle, presumably named after Inkle, is outdated in today’s ways which could represent how Thomas’ way of thinking or even the act of slavery is no longer in use today (and was debated back then) just like how Inkle is no longer used either.