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tempcolon Confronting Colonialism and Imperialism in Aime Cesaire’s A Tempest

Confronting Colonialism in A Tempest

A Tempest by Aime Cesaire is an attempt to confront and rewrite the idea of colonialism as presented in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He is successful at this attempt by changing the point of view of the story. Cesaire transforms the characters and transposes the scenes to reveal Shakespeare’s Prospero as the exploitative European power and Caliban and Ariel as the exploited natives. Cesaire’s A Tempest is an effective response to Shakespeare’s The Tempest because he interprets it from the perspective of the colonized and raises a conflict with Shakespeare as an icon of the literary canon.

In The Tempest by William Shakespeare one might argue that colonialism is a reoccurring theme throughout the play because of the slave-master relationship between Ariel and Caliban and Prospero. It is also noticeable through the major and minor changes in status among the temporary inhabitants of the island like Trinculo and Stephano (Brower 463). These relationships support the theme that power is not reciprocal and that in a society someone will be exploited.

Shakespeare first introduces the idea of colonialism when he allows Prospero to be ruler over Caliban, the native inhabitant of the island. This is a direct link to the colonization by the Europeans in the late 1400’s. Caliban reveals this idea of colonization in Act I Scene 2 when he says, “ This island’s mine by Sycorax, my mother, /Which thou tak’st from me…For I am all the subjects that you have, /Which first was my own king; and here you sty me/In this hard rock, while you do keep from me /The rest o’ th’ island” (Shakespeare 37). Shakespeare’s diction in this dialogue as well as in Prospero’s response that fol…

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Becker, Zachery. “Aime Cesaire’s A Tempest”. (1999) 18 April.2001

Brower, Reuben. Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Ed. Leonard Dean. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Cesaire, Aime. A Tempest. Trans. Richard Miller. USA: UBU Repertory Theater Publications, 1992.

Hawkes, Terence. That Shakespearean Rag: essays on a critical process. New York: Methuen and Company, 1986.

Mullenix, Elizabeth Reitz. “The Tempest.” Illinois Shakespeare Festival. (1996) 18 April2001.

“Negritude.” Encyclopedia Britannica. (1999): 27 April.2001

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. London: Washington Square Press, 1994.

Morality and Responsibility – Moral Development in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Moral Development in Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a commentary on the natural disposition of man. By personifying her vision of a natural everyman character in the form of Victor Frankenstein’s creation, The Creature, Shelley explores the natural state as well as the moral development of man, and develops conclusions regarding both. But before Shelley could create her commentary on man’s natural dispositions, she was in need of a character to represent her “natural everyman.” The character she needed had to possess the same qualities as that of a man in his most natural state.

The most common character to represent man in his most natural state is that of a newborn. A newborn is, of course, a new human being in every respect, and a newborn has no past experiences that would taint his role as a natural everyman. However, a newborn is subject to the elements of the outside world without the ability to freely interact with those elements. A newborn cannot defend itself from alien environments that bring in new ideas, new friends, new enemies, and new challenges. Shelley’s character must be able to always act upon his own free will (or be “freely” influenced by deterministic processes, depending on one’s school or thought). However, a newborn is not able to accomplish this; there is too much ambiguity in what determines and develops a newborn’s state of mind. Shelley needed something “better” than a newborn.

Victor Frankenstein’s creation is the answer to his dilemma. The Creature does not possess any of the shortcomings discussed above. He is brought into this world as a fully mobile human, able to act, as he chooses, not dependant upon other human beings to survive. In The Creature, Shelley …

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4. Shelley. Chapter 16.

5. Shelley. Letter 2.

6. Shelley. Chapter 21.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea, 1987.

Garber, Frederick. The Autonomy of the Self from Richardson to Huysmans. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Marder, Daniel. Exiles at Home: A Story of Literature in Nineteenth Century America. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1984.

Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study.

Smith, Christopher. Frankenstein as Prometheus.

Spark, Muriel. Mary Shelly. New York: Dutton, 1987.

Williams, Bill. On Shelley’s Use of Nature Imagery.

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