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Many of the plays of William Shakespeare involve colonial or postcolonial settings. For example, it is relatively easy to read The Tempest in terms of a postcolonial situation, in which Caliban, who was on the island before the arrival of Prospero and the other characters, is seen as the subaltern, dispossessed and enslaved like so many Africans and Native Americans. Similarly, Othello as a Moor in service to Venice can be seen as the other who is assimilated to western culture. One interesting postcolonial issue is whether one sees Othello as subversive to or complicit with Venice, especially in relation to his marriage to Desdemona. The Merchant of Venice examines the Jewish community of Europe as a subaltern. Macbeth raises questions of Scottish identity in face of English colonialism.
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