Factors Leading to His Downfall: The Tragedy of King Christophe by Aimé Césaire

1127 WordsJun 22, 20185 Pages
When witnessing irrational behavior, there comes a sudden urge. The urge to feel the emotions and read the thoughts of the offender in an attempt to understand their purpose and to set the mind at ease. The play The Tragedy of King Christophe by Aimé Césaire offers the opportunity to peer into the mind of King Henri Christophe and to understand the motives that lead to his undoing. His voice is no longer silenced. His story speaks of a man with selfless aspirations who took an unfortunately fatal detour, a tragedy heard time and time again. Christophe ultimately becomes a victim to his twisted views on racial inequality, his faulty methods for leveling himself to his superiors and his overwhelming power. Henri Christophe believes that…show more content…
Christophe suffers tunnel vision, seeing only freedom and prosperity at the end of his path, however his people are losing faith. A doubtful upper-class lady expresses her discontent stating the burdens of the State bear “a terrifying resemblance to something we all knew very well in the past” (P.53) and although her suspicions are countered, it becomes clear that freedom and slavery are being molded into synonymous concepts. Christophe’s priorities appear to transition from freedom and empowerment of the Haitians to the establishment of a well-functioning, European state. Christophe wills to build the Citadel as a representation of “the freedom, of a whole people. Built by the whole people, men and women, young and old, and for the whole people”(P.44) yet ironically, the making of this freedom requires the relinquishment of freedom. Men, women and children of all ages are captured and enslaved, forced to work in brutal weather conditions and whipped unless they continue to drag their worn, broken bodies up the 64-step Citadel staircase. The abuse of power continues when Christophe deems it necessary for the overworked citizens to continue their toil in building “a palace for a congress of all sovereigns of the world who deign to take a little trip to Haiti” (P.73). Though his people are being worked to the bone, Christophe views the beauty and appeal of his state as the dominating priority. Though, he begins with purely ethical

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