The Wine‐dark Caribbean? Kamau Brathwaite's <i>Odale's Choice</i> and Derek Walcott's <i>Omeros</i>

Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson

in Crossroads in the Black Aegean

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199217182
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712388 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

The Wine‐dark Caribbean? Kamau Brathwaite's Odale's Choice and Derek Walcott's Omeros

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Kamau Brathwaite's Odale's Choice, an adaptation of Antigone designed for school children to perform, figures and enacts the birth of a nation, as Ghana, where it was first produced, becomes the first African country to achieve independence from a European colonial power. The bleakest aspects of the play are read as representations of both the necessary sacrifices that must be made to achieve independence and the unnecessary sacrifices that may be demanded after independence. The Pan-African implications of this play by an Afro-Caribbean writer are contrasted with the Pan-Caribbean vision articulated in Derek Walcott's Omeros. In the debate among Caribbean writers and critics about the historical, epistemological and political priority of the constituent cultures of the region, Omeros's fixation on Greek models is an answer to Brathwaite's assertion of African antecedents. Against all efforts to privilege any of the region's cultures, Omeros plots the limits of even its own Greek apparatus.

Keywords: Kamau Brathwaite; Odale's Choice; Derek Walcott; Omeros; Pan-African; Pan-Caribbean; Ghana; independence; school children; African antecedents

Chapter.  24873 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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