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The Dark Face of the Earth - Essay Example

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Summary
The darker face of the Earth ‘The darker face of the earth’ authored by Rita Davis is a striking parallel of the Greek myth ‘Oedipus’. However, the play is not merely a recap of the myth with psychological and primeval ties; it also comprises of analogies between the pre-historic rituals of sacrifice and the American racial segregation…
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The Dark Face of the Earth
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The Dark Face of the Earth

The authoress makes an attention-grabbing role reversal in the play since the female is in the place of power and Augustus is suberserviant to her instead of the other way round. The play begins with Amalia giving birth to a black child as a result of her affair with a slave. However, the complexity was her situation compels her into giving her baby to another plantation. As years pass by, she changes in a tyrant because of constant dissatisfaction and heartbreaks. Then Augustus arrives on the plantation, bound in chains and seduced by his owner. The play is filled with clever turnings which fills it with suspense until the tragic ending. Each word of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy qualifies for an essay. According to him, every tragedy comprises of six components, namely: plot, characters, diction, thought, melody/songs and spectacle. For him, a good tragedy is in which the actions and motives of the protagonist drive his actions to the extent that it stimulates dread and compassion among the audience. This play’s theatrical success seems to be indicative of the fact that characters managed to successfully arise sympathy and apprehension in the audience. Tragedy is the portrayal men in action not simply men. Character exposes the motives, preferences and reactions, which according to Aristotle are more essential than thought (Carlisle). In the darker face of the world, the hero, Augustus is seen as: the savior of the slaves, a smart and educated fellow who has seen the outside world. Although, Amalia was determined not to give him up but she had to as he was biracial, which ingrained a sense of injustice in him. Since he was raised by an English captain on a ship so Augustus unlike the other African slaves does not believe in religion or heritage and disdains their superstitious thinking. Due to his strong headed attitude, leadership attributes and desire for freedom seems an ideal to lead the freedom movement. This paints a realistic and true to life picture of the pre-civil war condition of slaves in America and makes the character closer to reality. Eventually as he grabs and agonizes with Amalia, he accomplishes his goal of murdering the plantation owner and thus liberating the black slaves from the tyrannical rule. This is also highlights the face that the circumstances that led to the ending of Augustus were greatly impacted by external factors like ethnocentric issues (Harris). Phebe, born on the plantation is a resilient yet loving, loyal and intellectual woman who adored Augustus even though their attitudes are categorically opposite. However, Augustus like majority of black men who after receiving the admiration of their own kind develop a preference for white women is also inclined towards Amalia. “A man who is not eminently good and just yet whose misfortune is not brought by vice or depravity but by some error of frailty”, this line by Aristotle defines what constitutes a tragic hero in his sight (Aristotle). The affair between Amalia and Hector was not under the protagonist’s control. We cannot blame him for developing a prejudiced and unjust attitude in consideration of his miserable parentless childhood. Similarly, unaware of his mother’s identity and getting seduced by Amalia was natural. However indulging in the private pursuit of pleasure and committing murders direct out ... Read More
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