Successes and Failures of Patriarchy in Colonialism

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In “The Tempest”, “Translations” and “Things Fall Apart”, the theme of patriarchy is explored in different settings; the colonisation of the Irish in “Translations”, an unnamed island in “The Tempest” and the Igbo tribe in “Things Fall Apart”.

Prospero is a familial patriarch, shown through his dominant control of Miranda, such as ‘the very minute bids thee ope thine ear. Obey and be attentive’ . Hugh’s control of Manus is familial, as is Okonkwo’s control of his wives and children. Prospero’s control of Caliban and Hugh’s control of the school is societal. Aristotle says that Humanity is divided...those who have the right to command and those who are born to obey , an aspect of clear importance in these texts. The Elizabethan audience had been thoroughly conditioned to accept the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. The philosophical theory of the Divine Right of Kings, considered a King to be a representation of God, appointed by God and above the law, only subject to God’s will, thus anyone below the King, is subject to his command. Prospero is presented as the coloniser, coming under threat with the arrival of the ship, whilst Okonkwo and Hugh are not. Inclusively, Prospero and Okonkwo represent the patriarchal period of the time and are perceived as successful societal patriarchs in the eyes of a Jacobean and post-colonial audience, whereas Hugh is not, as he doesn’t set his priorities correctly and realise at first, the implications of colonialism.

The way in which Prospero and Hugh dominate the other characters are similar. Prospero strongly adheres to the Great Chain of Being, which categorised a strict religious hierarchical order, which saw women below men and beasts below women. Prospero, as a societal patriarch,...

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• Reinares, Maria Laura Barberan, “Remapping and Renaming Ireland: A Postcolonial Look at the Problem of Language and Identity in Brian Friel’s Translations. “ (2007)

• This quote was readdressed in the seventeenth century by the Royalists Thomas Hobbles who in 1651 wrote, “Aristotle in his first book of Politiques affirms as a foundation of the whole politically science, that some men by nature are worthy to command, others only to serve.” (Hobbes, T. (1651) Philosophical Rudiments Concerning Government and Society, 1651[Rudiments], iii. 13, 46.)

• Strong-Leek, L, 2001. “Reading As A Woman: Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ ‘Feminism Criticism”.

• Vaughan, Virginia Mason “Something Rich And Strange”: Caliban’s Theatrical Metamorphoses

• Vaughan, Alden T. - The Tempest (Arden Shakespeare Third) [Paperback], Virginia Mason Vaughan, 2011

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