Analysis Of Aime Cesaire's A Tempest

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“A Tempest” is as a derivative of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” by Aime Cesaire. Cesaire makes a number of alterations in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. These alterations have been made in order to outline the change in time eras between the two playwrights’ time of existence and to illustrate the great social change that occurred in these periods, mainly colonialism by the West, the subsequent theme of the quest for freedom as well as the theme of power that resonates throughout the play. This essay aims at exploring the similarities and to draw attention to the alterations made by Cesaire in “A Tempest” and the subsequent effects of these alterations on the audience. “A Tempest” is ultimately written for a black (or minority)…show more content…
He is the epitome of the oppressed indigenous African people and introduces the theme of freedom. Cesaire establishes Caliban as the protagonist of the play and draws significance on Caliban’s attempt towards the quest for freedom. When Caliban is introduced to the audience in the second scene of ACT I, the first word he utters is “uhuru”. This sets the perimeter for his actions throughout the play “A Tempest”, were freedom is foremost on his agenda. Caliban is evidently more defiant and harsh to Prospero in “A Tempest”, were he is rebellious in that he uses his native language and uses language Prospero taught him to retort to Prospero’s commands with insult; this is evident in Caliban’s speech “I’ll impale! And on a steak that you’ve sharpened yourself”. The threat of being whipped and magic forcibly induces Caliban to do Prospero’s bidding. Caliban’s allusion to Malcom X when he states, “Call me X. That would be best. Like a man without a name. Or, to be more precise, a man whose name has been stolen.” (1.2.191-193) reinforces Cesaire’s post-colonial perspective and his endorsement of negritude. Caliban finds himself continuously ill-treated; he has it the worst of all of Prospero’s slaves. The conditions of hard-labour that were subjected to black people by white supercilious people during colonization are mentioned by Cesaire were Prospero “forgives” Ferdinand and excuses him from his afore imposed state of slavery on the basis that they are of the same race and rank and the manual labour that was intended for Ferdinand is passed on to Caliban. Caliban is naïve and gullible, he trusts Stephano and Trinculo upon meeting them for the first time in spite of the ordeal he undergoes with Prospero. Caliban’s woes are echoed throughout the play and draws sympathy from the reader, whereas in “The Tempest” Shakespeare makes it difficult for the audience to consider Caliban as anything further then the perpetrator
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