Adaptation In The Tempest

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The Tempest is believed to be the final play written by English playwright William Shakespeare (Arnold 2009: 1). This allegorical play takes place on an exotic island and describes the master-slave relationship between Prospero the virtuous ruler and Caliban the ugly evil. Approximately three and a half centuries later, French poet and author Aimé Césaire, who objected to colonialism and was concerned about post-colonial issues, published A Tempest (‘Une Tempête’), a post-colonial adaptation of Shakespeare’s work. While the two plays share the same characters and provokes similar ideal dichotomies of master and slave; colonizer and colonized; natural and supernatural (Chan 2008: 1), there are differences, for instance, Caliban becomes a Black slave and the ending is changed in Césaire’s version. Based on these alterations, some consider A Tempest not a translation of The Tempest but rather an adaptation that stands on its own, independent of the original. In response to this view, this paper attempts to examine the relationship between the two versions and analyze in what ways A Tempest can and cannot be regarded a translation of The Tempest. The reason to view Césaire’s work not as a translation of Shakespeare’s but as an adaptation only will first be presented. How the…show more content…
Translation can now be seen as a form of response that ‘recognizes, preserves, and even multiplies the ambiguities of the original text’ (Beals 2014: 288) and offers contemporary outlook or even solutions. The radical departures of Césaire’s translation from lexical and content equivalence can therefore be seen as a form of dialogue with Shakespeare’s original (ibid: 293). Indeed, traces of ambiguities being attended to and modern viewpoints regarding colonialism being inserted can be detected within A
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