A Tempest (Aime Cesaire)

“Prospero, you’re a great magician: you’re an old hand at deception. And you lied to me so much, about the world, about myself, that you ended up by imposing on me an image of myself: underdeveloped, in your words, under competent that’s how you made me see myself! And I hate that image…and it’s false! But now I know you, you old cancer, And I also know myself! And I know that one day my bare fist, just that, will be enough to crush your world!"

“Prospero, you’re a great magician:
you’re an old hand at deception.
And you lied to me so much,
about the world, about myself,
that you ended up by imposing on me
an image of myself:
underdeveloped, in your words, under competent
that’s how you made me see myself!
And I hate that image…and it’s false!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
And I also know myself!
And I know that one day
my bare fist, just that,
will be enough to crush your world!"

Martinique / 1969

A Tempest is Césaire’s spin on Shakespeares classic “The Tempest” Distinctly set in the Caribbean, this version transplants Shakespeare’s original play and focuses on themes of colonialism and race. True to form, Césaire also injects many key elements of Négritude. In this quote, Caliban (A Black man) tells Prospero (A White colonist who has spent years trying to brainwash him with European culture) how he really feels about him.

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