n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Hybridity, Othello and the postcolonial critics

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



At least since Frantz Fanon's was published in 1952, the postcolonial subject has been defined in relation to split subjectivity, hybridity and alienation. Academics and writers almost routinely invoke two ur-texts in order to discuss something of the problematics surrounding colonisation and the negotiation of race and Otherness : Shakespeare's and . In the case of , there is often a visceral reaction to the black character on stage, a dislocating shock of recognition : thus for Ben Okri, it becomes possible to imagine himself in Othello's place, Othered as much by the Venetian social context that the narrative describes as by the play's own potentially racist symbolic. For Caryl Phillips, a personal comparison with Othello, both intimately inserted into and simultaneously alienated from the turbulent cosmopolitan centre of Early Modern Venice, is almost inescapable.

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