Shakespeare and his plays are woven deeply into the culture of the Caribbean, both white and black. Even after centuries of British colonial rule came to an end, Shakespeare endured.
There’s a long tradition in the British Caribbean of using Shakespeare quotations in competitions to demonstrate rhetorical skill, whether in the schoolyard or at rural village gatherings. After slavery was abolished in the British colonies, schools were established to steep the empire’s newest subjects in British literature, including Shakespeare.
But anti-colonialists have also claimed Shakespeare for their own, particularly The Tempest and the character of Caliban.
Our guests on this episode are Dr. Giselle Rampaul, a lecturer in Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and Dr. Barrymore A. Bogues, Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. They are interviewed by Neva Grant.
“A Vision Of This Island” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.
We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington, Courtney Coelho at Brown University, and Kerri Chandler at Wiluvbeats Studios in Barataria, Trinidad.
We also want to say a special “thank you” to Fabienne Viala, a professor in the school of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick in the UK. Early on in our research on this topic, Dr. Viala was uncommonly generous in offering her time and her deep understanding of this history. She also introduced us to Giselle Rampaul.