According to residents, the elected mayor already had fled, the justice of the peace was in exile, and leaders of a Catholic food program had been arrested and beaten.
"Everything is paralyzed, and people are suffering greatly," said a religious worker now assigned to a different parish. "The army comes with arrests and beatings, and you spend a few days in jail. Then you have to pay money to be released. Then you have to go to the hospital because you do not come out in one piece, and that means more money. How can we ask people to face those risks?"
The Washington Post, Saturday, October 10, 1992
Dictatorship can perhaps be seen as a modern version of tyranny. Both are extreme examples of corrupt power. Both exact a high human cost. Both are characterized by fear, for not only do tyrants and dictators often rely on intimidation to maintain control but they are also often guided by fear themselves as they face a constant threat of retaliation. "Blood will have blood," as Macbeth says (3.4.121). A nation raised on violence learns to respond in kind; unbearable oppression encourages civil unrest.
This dark picture of Haiti's history reflects the violence enacted in Macbeth. Orson Welles 1936 production of the play offers connections that have continued to be valid for most of this century. Haiti's recent past offers not only a study of the effects of brutality but also an inquiry into standards of morality and the question of evil. Much of the Western world is prepared to denounce the inhumanity perpetuated by Haiti's governments and give financial assistance in order to restore peace and prosperity: the United States played a significant role in returning Aristide to power. But "evil" is a strong judgment that reaches beyond political questions about just rule and stable government. The parallels between Haiti and Macbeth open up the debate about whether interpretations of evil have changed from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, whether there are moral absolutes of good and evil or simply cultural standards, and what kind of responsibility our understanding requires from us as audiences, as foreign observers, and as actively concerned citizens.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Understanding Macbeth:A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Contributors: Faith Nostbakken - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 205.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.