Question: Compare or contrast the ways in which roberto Fernandez Retamar and George Lamming construct national identity through the figure of Caliban. Use Shakespeare's "The Tempest" if you need to to discuss Caliban.
In order to discuss the ways in which Retamar and Lamming have
constructed a national identity through Caliban it is essential to discuss the
cultural background of these writers. Retamar and Lamming are about as
dissimilar as night and day, and this is evident in both the lives that they
have led, as well as the essays that they have constructed. Their
differences have come from their experiences, and how they have
attempted to establish an identity for themselves and their people. It would
be easy to label them the 'pessimist Retamar,' and the 'optimist Lamming,'
or the Communist Retamar, and the Imperialist Lamming, yet this would
oversimplify a definition that is in no way simple. Rather, I shall use the
terms internal and external.
For both of these men have traveled abroad in
their studies, and in their solidifying of the concept of Caliban, each has
chosen a separate point of view to attempt to identify the same ideal. For
Retamar his focus, as well as his point of view is wholly internal, while for
Lamming he looks on from the outside, the external, and writes of what
comes from Caliban, and how the world sees it.
I shall begin with Retamar. Here is a man who had tried early in his
life to give a face to Caliban. Retamar, a Marxist writer, described
Caliban by first pointing out that his very name is Shakespeare's anagram
for cannibal. He is meant to be an Anthropophagus, a bestial eater of his
own kind. This was quite clearly an illustrious exaggeration on the part of
Shakespeare, and yet...