oa Alternation - Afrikaans Theatre: a centre moving?

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Critics such as Brydon (1984) have suggested a postcolonial, counter discursive interpretation of William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. The existence of three stages of colonisation is confirmed even by a superficial reading of the text. During the first stage Sycorax, a witch, is left on an island with child by passing sailors. Her son, Caliban, '[a] freckled whelp hag-born-not honour'd with/[a] human shape' (Act 1, Scene 2), is born on the island. An airy spirit called Ariel serves her but because he refused to obey her repulsive commands she fixed him into a cloven pine. The second phase commences after Sycorax had died and Prospero and Miranda have landed on the island. Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan whom his brother Antonio had replaced and then put to sea to die with his daughter. He reaches and occupies the island, releases Ariel from Sycorax's spell and subjugates Caliban as his slave. During a storm a ship with friends and enemies aboard perishes nearby. Prospero reveals himself to the shipwrecked persons as the true Duke, after which the colonisers return to Europe aboard the repaired vessel.

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