Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 February 2021
The anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century created new interpretative contexts that drew attention to the racializations at play in Shakespeare’s work, as well as their disruptions. Using The Tempest as a case study, this chapter demonstrates how Shakespeare can be an ally in the struggle against racist abuse of power. Post-colonial methodologies teach us to notice how language secures the interests of the powerful and legitimizes colonial violence. In The Tempest the antagonism between the colonizer and those whose lands are invaded manifests in the battle between Caliban and Prospero: This is Shakespeare’s subject. But post-colonial theory affirms that the opportunity to attend to the vulnerabilities of the disempowered is available to scholars and audiences of every work. Post-colonial approaches do more than simply diversify the creative palette available to theater-makers; they provide the tools and the vocabulary to confront power and privilege, and affirm the possibility of a more just world.