Colonialism In A Tempest

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“A Tempest” is as a derivative of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” by Aime Cesaire. Cesaire makes several alterations in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. These changes have been made to outline the change in time eras between the two playwrights’ time of existence and to show the great social changes that occurred during these periods, mainly colonialism by the West, and the following themes of search for freedom as well as the theme of power that resonates throughout the play. This essay aims at exploring the similarities between the two plays and to draw attention to the changes made by Cesaire in “A Tempest” and the consequent effects of these changes on the audience.
“A Tempest” is ultimately written for a black (or minority)
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In “A Tempest” Prospero at first discovers and seeks out the island and this is a reason that he is usurped from his position. The theme of power is introduced and extends throughout the play. Prospero is evidently the protagonist in “The Tempest”, whereas he is the antagonist in “A Tempest”. Prospero’s persecution of Caliban and Ariel is intensified in “A Tempest”. He finds it in him to forgive his fellow countrymen for their coupe d’état, on the basis that “They are man of my race, and of high rank” (1.2.257-258). Prospero uses the threat of torture and magic on Caliban when he is defied by his “subject” by using the language that Prospero taught him “If you keep gambling you will be whipped” and “Beating is the only language you understand. So much the worse for you: I’ll speak, it loud and clear”. Prospero is vivid in his taunting and plight of Caliban and this extends the reader’s sympathy towards Caliban as opposed to “The Tempest”, where the reader finds it difficult to sympathize with Caliban as he is subjectively set out as the antagonist. Further, this threat of torture and discomfort caused by Prospero’s magic and torture shows the tools that were used by European settlers to oppress the indigenous people, such as that of language and torture, this points out the theme of power. As in “The Tempest”,…show more content…
He is the epitome of the oppressed indigenous African people and introduces the theme of freedom. Cesaire shows Caliban as the protagonist of the play and draws significance on Caliban’s attempt towards gaining his 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 more defiant and harsh towards 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 insults; this is evident in Caliban’s speech “I’ll impale you! And on a steak that you’ve sharpened yourself”. The threat of being whipped and the use of magic forcibly induces Caliban to do Prospero’s bidding. Caliban’s allusion to Malcolm 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. The conditions of hard labour that black people were subjected to by white supercilious people during colonization are mentioned by Cesaire where Prospero “forgives” Ferdinand and excuses him from his afore imposed state of slavery on the basis that they are of the same
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