The Tempest and A Tempest

“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 during 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) audience. This is evident in that Cesaire uses the word “Uhuru” (1.2.133&134;). The use of the Swahili word, which translates to “freedom”, alerts the audience that the play has an African ambiance to it and highlights the plight of Caliban and Ariel and their quest for freedom from their white oppressor. Moreover, Shakespeare uses blank verse with extended metaphors and imagery in “The Tempest”, whereas Cesaire uses simple language and metaphors and imageries that are elementary in order to endorse negritude and thus fracturing from the conventional writing style of Western playwrights of his time. Cesaire adapts Shakespeare’s play from a post-colonial point of view. In “A Tempest”, Cesaire adds the character of Esthu, whom is characterized as a black-devil god, “God to my friends, the Devil to my enemies” (2.3.18-19). The rest of the characters in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” remain unaltered except for those of Prospero, Caliban and Ariel. Cesaire emphasizes that Prospero is a white master. Ariel is stated to be a mulatto slave, which deviates from Shakespeare’s original characterization and Prospero’s reference to him when he add…

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