Colonialism & Postcolonialism

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We have come a long way towards accepting cultural differences since the old colonial days. We have finally relinquished ‘the whiteman’s burden’.

During the discovery era, the dominant attitude of Western culture towards the colonised people was one of arrogance and superiority. They believed themselves superior due to advanced technology and being easily able to subdue resistance with force. These actions were justified as the bringing of civilisation to primitive and undeveloped cultures.

In more recent times, attitudes towards colonialism and colonisation have changed. Attitudes now include acceptance of difference in culture, racial equality, and sympathy towards lesser people. Ideas of exploitation, brutality and conquer have ceased. However, there are still some who consider different cultures being not as good as their own. Modern society has also created stereotypes based on certain cultures including Jews.

Evidence of these views is written in texts, ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare and ‘City of the Beasts’ written by Isabel Allende.

In ‘The Tempest’’, a powerful magician called Prospero and his young daughter were deposited on a deserted island, presumably in the Mediterranean. He enslaved a native named Caliban and the spirit, Ariel using his strong powers. Years later, when his enemies were washed up onto island, Prospero desired revenge. These obsessions made Prospero mistreat his slaves until the conclusion of the play where he becomes nicer and accepting of others.

Throughout the text, William Shakespeare seemed to be uneasy about colonisation and colonialism, despite this being the dominant European attitude during his time. This uneasiness is firstly shown in the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. Prospero represented the colonizers from the old world as he was greedy, cruel and put himself be for others. On the other hand, Caliban represented the indigenous peoples who were treated with unfair indifference and...
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