literary summary of dream on monkey mountain

Background 

Dream on Monkey Mountain is a well known play by West Indian playwright and poet, Derek Walcott. He was a noble proze winner as well. This play, Dream on Monkey Mountain is a post-colonial work by Walcott. It is an allegorical story, in which a black man named Makak sees a dream where he meets a white goddess who asked him to become the great King of Africa. 

The play was written in the 1970s. 

Literary summary of Dream on Monkey mountain 

The play opens up with the epigraph taken from Franz Fanon, who is a postcolonial philosopher. 

In the opening scene of the play, there is a chorus going on by the singers on stage. Tigre and Souris are held in jail cells, the other cell is vacant. They are held against the act of theft. Corporate Lestrade who is biracial, comes up with Makak, a black man of old age, and throws him inside the vacant cell. Lestrade has his argument with other prisoners and called them an animal. He runs an impromptu trial of these prisoners. 

Makak goes through the trial as well. Though he is confused with all this going on, he just wants to return to his home situated on the Monkey Mountain. He asserts that there is a white women spectre that meets him, who is motivating him to become King of Africa. 

Makak dreams about the time prior of his arrest. Moustique, his friend came to his house and saw that Makak is laying down on the ground outside his house. He had a fit and he was trying to recollect himself. His friend asked him to come along to the market so that they could sell coal, which Makak has put together. Makak tells him about the dream in which a fair-colored lady persuades him to move back to Africa. He decided to follow that dream. 

Makak and Moustique were passing through the road when they saw a few people present around a man who is sick. Coals were lightened under the bed of that man so that he could sweat and his fever comes down. His illness was occurred by snakebite. Moustique went to those people and told them about Makak that he is a healer. He made a settlement of healing against some money and bread. They agreed upon this and Moustique brought Makak to them who healed that man. People were astonished and amused with Makak’s ability, they thanked him with a number of gifts. Makak’s friend demanded that they must use this ability for earning money, but he did not agree. They went to the market then. 

On the site of the market, Lestrade along with other inspectors was roaming. They heard about the healer with great powers. At the same time, Moustique comes up as an imposter of a healer. It was soon revealed that he is not Makak. People got angry and beat him badly while Lestrade did not attempt to stop them. Makak reaches on the scene and goes to his beaten friend. Unfortunately, Moustique died on the spot in Makak’s arms. Makak got fit attack again and he falls to the ground. 

Part Two 

The Part two of the play begins with Frantz Fanon’s another epigraph. Lestrade woke up Makak in the cell with Tigre and Souris. They saw that Makak has some amount with him and they thought about robbing him. Tigre and Souris tricked Makak that he must kill Lestrade. Makak pretended to have illness and stanned Lestrade with the dagger. He helped his fellow jail inamtes to escape into the forest. Lestrade received a minor stab only and chased them to the forest. Makak became unstable in forest. He assured Tigre and Souris that he will take them to Africa with him and make them generals of his league. When they heard that Lestrade is approaching, he hid with his friends. Lestrade became devastated and felt sorry over his past deeds. He decided to join Makak’s clan. Souris also got convinced by Makak and they all were going to Africa now. However, Tigre did not agree to go with them and in return, Lestrade stabbed him to death. They all left for their destination to Africa and Lestrade declared that he will be a law enforcer for Makak’s regime. 

Makak as a King entered into the court of Africa with the crowd. Lestrade asks everyone to welcome their King and the crowd chanted happily, but Makak does not seem amused with everything. Makak felt like if he is still the same from inside. All the prisoners were called in front of the King. Amongst the prisoners, many of them were white people from history who are dead. They were castigated from history because they were white and it was their punishment to get removed. After them, Moustique came in front of Makak and was tried for going against the dream of Makak. He cried and pleaded to Makak for forgiveness. Moustique says that Makak is being crazy, old, and sightless as he has become King. Makak did not listen to him. They took Moustique to execute him. 

After that, the white woman comes forward and upon the demand of Lestrade, she was to be executed as well. Lestrade called him as a temptation and on that basis, she must be killed. He gave a sword to Makak, while he asked everyone to leave him alone. He executed the white woman in privacy. 

The Epilogue 

At the end of the play, Makak is again present at the jail. When Lestrade asked for his name, he said that he is Felix Hobain. Makak accepted his black identity. Moustoque reached to the jail cell to receive him and they both went back to the Monkey mountain, happily. 

 

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