dream on monkey mountain

The Dream on Monkey Mountain is a dream play written by Derek Walcott. When we look at the literary analysis of themes in Dream on Monkey Mountains, we understand the elements present within this remarkable play.  

About Author 

Sir Derek Walcott was born on 23rd January in St. Lucia. Walcott has won several acclaimed awards for his literary work. Professionally, he is a critic, journalist, and teacher. For his poetry collection White Egrets, Walcott was the winner or the T. S. Eliot Prize. Derek Walcott is also the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for his literary writings. His famous works include Omeros, The Charlatan, Dream on Monkey Mountains, What the Twilight Says (Essays), and many others. 

Literary Analysis of Themes in Dream on Monkey Mountain 

The Dream on Monkey Mountain is written in the context of events that were occurring in the Post-colonial era. The major themes of this play are racism, rebirth, identity crisis, and power.

Racism 

The theme of racism is widely present in the play Dream on Monkey Mountain. Everywhere in the play, it is visible how they are facing racism on the basis of their features or skin color. Corporal Lestrade is a mulatto of a mixed race himself. Though, he introduces himself as white and calls inmates animal names. Like Makak’s name was representing monkey and Tigre was represented as Tiger. Another prisoner character in the play is called Souris, the rat.

It again depicts giving animal names to the humans. Makak’s dream about seeing white woman in his dream and make her fall in love with himself shows his complex of taming white people. Likewise, he wants to rule Africa as a black ruler and defeat all the white representation who has made them slave. It all portrays that how the local people were called with names so that they can be ashamed of themselves. The colonial rule also wanted to make sure that the complex of white supremacy remains there just like the character of Lestrade’s insecurity. 

Identity Crisis 

The literary analysis of themes in Dream on Monkey Mountain is incomplete without discussing Identity Crisis. It is indeed the basis of all the complexes that borne identity crisis. Everyone is seeking for their identity or running from their identity. If someone is ashamed of their identity, then the other one wants to rule world with their real identity. At the start of the play, Corporal Lestrade asks Makak about his name and race.

‘What is your race?’

Makak replies, ‘I am tired’. 

He further tells three of them that he has not seen his reflection in the last 30 years. While he was sleeping in jail, he dreamed about a white woman who tells -him that he is the King of Africa. It has the inspiration from the spirit of a woman who comes to him a night before. His journey of self- discovery begins in his dream. He saw himself curing an old man when he was dying.

Everyone joins Makak and follows him. In the dream, he is in the jail and attack his jailer to run away. After beating the corporal, he runs away with his fellows Tigre and Souris. Later, the Corporal and Souris joined him in his quest of becoming the King of Africa. After waking up from his dream, he Makak was more aware of his identity, he remembered his name, and was hopeful about his future. 

Colonialism 

One cannot outlook the theme of Colonialism from Dream on Monkey Mountain. The entire play is in the light of effects of Colonialism amongst the people of color. Makak’s saviour was a white woman, Lestrade wants to be a part of the white race, and they also gave priority to the Roman Law. The law imposed over the African was from the land of white. These were all the aspects of colonialism thrust over people and Makak, the protagonist was suffocated by it. The entire story running in his dream to push him out of this slavery of white while embracing his own identity is the proof of his inner anguish against the colonialism. 

The racism, identity crisis, and colonialism are the major subjects that we have explained in literary analysis of themes in Dream on Monkey Mountain.  

 

 

 

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