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A Tempest - Essay Example

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Aime Cesaire mixes politics and poetics to produce A Tempest. A Tempest, by Aime Cesaire is not merely a remake of Shakespeare's The Tempest, because Cesaire remakes the play to support a political agenda against imperialism and for negritude. Negritude is an awareness by black people of their distinctive cultural heritage…
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A Tempest

Download file to see previous pages... Caliban represents negritude. Decolonization is at the heart of A Tempest. Caliban struggles for freedom while Ariel collaborates for his freedom. The world of man usually thinks in hierarchical terms. This leads to constant power struggles and revolution when the time is ripe. The black devil-god, Eshu comes along to shake up the hierarchal structure set forth by the colonizer and to promote Caliban's revolution. A Tempest also reflects Cesaire's disillusionment with Communism and his desire for a colonial uprising.
Cesaire uses the characters in A Tempest to represent the major ideals dominating the imperial world of the twentieth century. Prospero is the character that represents imperialism. Although Prospero did not voluntarily leave his native country for the purpose of colonizing another land, he fits the criteria of colonizer. Prospero believes that if it were not for him Ariel would still be held captive in a tree and Caliban would be nothing more than a beast. Prospero, the Empire, is: powerful, knowledgeable, strong, and magical. In Act I scene 2 of A Tempest, Ariel expresses regret at the fact that Prospero came and conquered. Ariel wishes that he could have stayed captive in the tree because after all he might have become a real tree in the end. Colonized people surely must have wondered to what heights they would have grown to on their own without the empire crushing down on them. Throughout A Tempest Prospero and Caliban are locked in a constant struggle. Prospero is angry that Caliban will not accept his position of supposed superiority over him. It's obvious that Prospero has knowledge of magic since he captures, the sprite, Ariel, but one has to wonder if ninety percent of the magic Prospero has over Caliban is actually scientific knowledge that Prospero greedily holds on to and uses to keep Caliban in place. Prospero wants Caliban to believe that he has rescued Caliban from savagery. In a fine example of negritude Caliban proclaims who is mother is; where he came from, and the fact that he would be king of the island if it were not for Prospero. In the book titled Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, author Tony Judt quotes Charles De Gaulle as saying, " 'In French Africa [] there can be no true progress unless men are able to benefit from it morally and materially on their native soil, unless they can raise themselves little by little to a level where they can partake in the management of their own affairs' " (283).
The most remarkable person that Prospero has conquered is Ariel, because Ariel is hardly a person, Ariel is a sprite. Ariel represents the hope that colonized people felt. The hope that one day their freedom would be granted if they performed loyally to the empire and the hope that one day the empire would see them as their equals. The only way that an empire will let go of its hold over a people is to acknowledge the empire's wrong-doing in the first place. Through Ariel's non-violent struggle he believes that he can actually help Prospero gain a conscious. There is a struggle between Ariel and Prospero throughout the text, but it is much more subtle that Caliban's struggle against Prospero. Ariel and Caliban have an understanding that Prospero is the corrupt one. In Robin Kelley's introduction of A Tempest, Kelley paraphrases Cesaire's literary work titled Discourse on Colonialism, "The instruments of colonial power rely on barbaric, brutal ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The Tempest (Shakespeare)
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