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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 162

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A Season in the Congo is a 1966 play by the francophone Martinican playwright and poet Aimé Césaire. It depicts the final days in the remnant European colony of the Belgian Congo prior to its independence.

Patrice Lumumba is the principal character and protagonist in the play. Presented by Césaire as a tragic hero, Lumumba is an idealistic leader in the Congolese independence movement who becomes the new country's first prime minister. His commitment to national liberation over personal aggrandizement is underscored at a pivotal point in the play when he interrupts a speech by the king of Belgium to denounce the former colonial power.

Lumumba's foil in the play, and the play's major antagonist, is General Mokutu, who represents the real-life person of Mobutu Sese Seko. In contrast to Lumumba's idealism, Mokutu is cynical and self-interested.

Other major characters include Joseph Kasa-Vubu, president of the Republic of the Congo; Badouin II, the king of Belgium; and Julienne Lumumba, Lumumba's wife.