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Compare The Sucesses And Failures Of Patriarchy In Colonialism

2756 words - 12 pages

Compare The Successes And Failures Of Patriarchy In Colonialism, In “The Tempest”, “Translations” And “Things Fall Apart”.

In “The Tempest”, “Translations” and “Things Fall Apart”, the theme of patriarchy is evident in various aspects. For instance, there is patriarchy present when Prospero controls and dominates Caliban and Miranda in “The Tempest”. Likewise, in “Translations”, the theme of patriarchy is also present with Hugh’s dominance over Manus and Manus’s dominance of Sarah. In “Things Fall Apart”, patriarchy is also apparent, primarily seen with Okonkwo controlling his wives and children. Writers bring out the theme of patriarchy in different settings, due to colonisation, such as the colonisation of the Irish and Igbo tribe. This influences the success and failure of patriarchy as the characters will have to act in accordance to their environment and the conditions in which colonisation takes place. Prospero and Okonkwo represent the patriarchal period of the time, whereas Hugh represents old traditions.

The way in which both authoritarian figures dominate the lower classes are similar. They strongly adhere to the Great Chain of Beings, in which it categorised a strict religious hierarchical order, which saw women below men and beasts below women, thus in both cases men having complete dominance. Prospero exercises his control through Caliban, with his coarse use of language and his ability to make him complete domesticated duties, such as when Prospero tells Miranda that one of his tasks is to ‘fetch in the wood’. Hugh employs exactly the same technique, by making Manus complete domesticated duties, such as ‘get him food – get him a drink’. Both dominant figures subjugate others, in order to increase their social standing. Prospero uses Caliban and this is seen through the use of language and power he exerts over him. Aristotle says that ‘Humanity is divided in two, those who have the right to command and those who are born to obey’. ‘Monster’ is Caliban’s most frequent sobriquet and Prospero dehumanises him by calling him a ‘beast’, ‘hag-seed’ and ‘subhuman’. Caliban becomes the epitome of monstrousness, a non-human symbol of human iniquity, who is viewed by the Jacobean audience as ‘a foil or negation of Western cultures and values’ (Chinua Achebe). Prospero insults Caliban throughout the play and the most common instance is when Caliban is first introduced. Act One Scene Two presents Prospero in his true light, in which we see his totalitarian dominance, such as, ‘For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins shall, forth at vast of night that they may work, all exercise on thee. Thou shalt be pinched as thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging than bees that made em’. Prospero is threatening Caliban with cramps and horrible pains in his sides that will keep him from breathing. He will send goblins out at night to work their nasty deeds on him and that he will be pricked...

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