Linda Richter

"The Shakespeare’s mine, but you can have it"

Postcolonial Rewrites of Shakespeare’s Othello

 



"The Shakespeare‘s mine, but you can have it." With these words Billie, Othello‘s black, first wife in 20th century Harlem, kisses her marriage goodbye in Djanet Sears‘ Harlem Duet. Sears is one of several contemporary authors who use, translate, adapt and rewrite Shakespeare‘s Othello to tell their own stories. This study examines eight postcolonial plays written between 1964 and 2003. It analyses their treatment of and closeness to the original text. The choice of texts range from Charles Marowitz‘ collage in An Othello to the tiny fragments of Shakespeare buried almost invisibly deep inside Amiri Baraka‘s Dutchman and The Slave. The playwright‘s changes to gender, ethnicity and relationships of the main characters are often influenced by their country of origin and by contemporary historical events, e.g. the US-American Civil Rights Movement and the race riots in C. Bernard Jackson‘s Iago. Murray Carlin‘s Not Now, Sweet Desdemona, set a mere six years after Ugandan independence, gives a voice to a new generation of white and black hoping to overcome racism. Canadian Ken Mitchell‘s country operaCruel Tears is the first rewrite to radically change Othello‘s ethnicity and colour. Finally, Juha Lehtola uses Othello as a foil for Spinning Othello, where the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the subsequent migration of Ingrian Finns and their reception in Finland serves as a filter to a criticism of Finnish work ethics.


ISBN 978-3-86821-369-0, kt., 164 S., € 20,00 (2012)


Bestellen / Order