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The Misunderstood Message of Aime Cesaire’s A Tempest

Aime Cesaire is a poet and politician from Martinique, one of the founders of the Negritude. In the period from 1956 to 1973, he tried his hand as a playwright. His plays have attracted attention of an uneducated audience, for which they were designed, and intellectuals, who evaluated their significance.

His play A Tempest has been in the center of disputes for many years. These disputes are not about the substance of the play or its themes, but about the parallelism of the work to Shakespeare’s play.

In 1968, the Paris magazine published Cesaire’s play A Tempest, which, according to the author’s remark is the processing of The Tempest by Shakespeare for the Negro Theatre. Inspired by the Elizabethan drama, Cesaire wrote his play and gave it a different perspective and context.

The similarity and difference at the same time can be seen in the beginning of the play – Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Cesaire’s Une Tempête. The similarity in the name only, however, the difference is in the use of the definite article by Shakespeare, which speaks in favor of a particular situation; and an indefinite article by Cesaire, which means not only one storm.

The main structural and compositional similarities of the play include: of five acts of the original play Cesaire made only three, but the third act brings together the content of the last two acts from Shakespeare’s play. Also all the characters, Italian intrigues, philosophizing of characters, as well as an amazing Shakespeare’s time unit remain the same.

Compositional changes made by Cesaire include additions: there is a host of the play, who invites artists to the stage to select a mask they like. Its function is depersonalization of personality, lack of freedom of the whole continent, the actual possession of one’s own face, hidden as a result of colonial policy.

The other change made by Cesaire is introduction of slavery, racism, and colonization. Shakespeare himself, by introducing Caliban into the play obviously used the essay On Cannibals by Montaigne, who wrote about the values of society deprived of European influence.

The movement Negritude is also present in the play. Cesaire systematically refers to the African roots in the drama. Based on the best traditions of European literary school, the playwright creates an original dramatic expression: an authentic Negro Theatre.

In fact, Cesaire made a play in an African style, going in line with the political theater, presenting the past and present of Africa, especially its experience and dilemma when confronted with a European master.

Aime Cesaire is a poet and politician from Martinique, one of the founders of the Negritude. In the period from 1956 to 1973, he tried his hand as a playwright. His plays have attracted attention of an uneducated audience, for which they were designed, and intellectuals, who evaluated their significance.

His play A Tempest has been in the center of disputes for many years.

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Assignment ID
100000497
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CREATED ON
July 11, 2016
COMPLETED ON
July 12, 2016
Price
$32
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December 6, 2016
Lgipson
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December 6, 2016
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