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Postcolonial Lens

Decent Essays
Postcolonial critiques of literary works are often accomplished by reading and interpreting the work with a specific theme in mind or a ‘lens’. By allowing oneself to use a ‘lens’ when reading specific works, it allows the reader to interpret the effects of the themes and the changes throughout the writings. The goal of the critical lens is to seek to understand the behavior of characters or the society ("Post Colonialism," 2016). A few of the most popular themes used to view literary works are identity, oppression and power; applying this ‘lens’ can give the reader a different perspective and experience while reading the writings.
The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Tempest both have several postcolonial themes that run through them. In both, the
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While Gilgamesh is two-thirds god he is still one-third human, making him lesser to any god. After Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to be her bridegroom, he openly insults her, repeatedly. Ishtar is so furious that she used her power by appealing to her godly parents and saying ‘Gilgamesh has heaped insults on me, he has told over all my abominable behaviour, my foul and hideous acts’ (Sandars, 1973, Chapter 3). Through this plea she sets in motion actions that will kill Enkindu and hurt Gilgamesh emotionally. Gilgamesh thought he was as powerful as a god and this narcissism is the ultimate turning point in the story.
The Tempest is a piece written long after the Epic of Gilgamesh, yet the power struggle and use of power for oppression is just as intertwined. As Gilgamesh used his power to oppress his villagers Prospero uses his power to oppress his daughter, his sprit and Caliban, the native. Additionally, Gilgamesh was always searching always looking for ways to increase or show his power, Prospero displays similar behaviors by always searching for knowledge through his books and attempting to reassert his position as
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The theme of power can be observed, in addition to Prospero, by the actions of Antonio, Sebastian and Caliban. Moreover, this theme of power is evident from the opening scene all the way through to the end of Act 2. It is hard to see a more prominent theme in the play of the Tempest.
Prospero, the protagonist, was originally the Duke of Milan, but had his kingdom taken from him by his own brother and was banished to an island with only his daughter and his books. His books were his power and he loved them greatly telling his daughter Miranda ‘Me, poor man, my library Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties’ (Shakespeare, 2012, 1.2.126-27) of his fondness for his books. Prospero’s books were a symbol of power and he used his books and his time on the island to prefect him magical knowledge, which is shown in the opening scene as he creates the
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