Derek Walcott Drama Analysis
Because drama is performed live before an audience, its impact is more immediate and of a more communal nature than that of fiction and poetry. Derek A. Walcott’s major contribution to West Indian literature may be his dramatic re-creation of the scenes, the people, and the language of his native region. On a larger scale, his Trinidad Theatre Workshop tours, as well as performances of his plays by foreign companies, have brought West Indian life to the attention of audiences on virtually every continent.
Drawing from St. Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, and other islands, Walcott uses the patchwork history of his Caribbean people to focus on problems that relate to all humankind. The child of mixed blood, he embodies the cultural heritage of Europe and the New World. Translating this legacy to the stage, he re-creates conquistadors, slaves, indentured servants, colonialists, and the unheralded common men and women who may be the most interesting figures of all—for their ingenuity in simply surviving.
The culture of Western Europe lends a shaping hand to Walcott’s polyglot material. Over the years, he has been indebted to sources as diverse as the Jacobean dramatists, the Spanish Golden Age, John Millington Synge, T. S. Eliot, Bertolt Brecht, the Japanese N theater, and the Greek classics. Conveniently for Walcott, Trinidad’s fabulous carnival provides the raw material and inspiration he needs—masquerades, pantomime, satiric calypso,...
(The entire section is 3030 words.)
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