Metaphors of Oppression in Lusophone Historical Drama

Metaphors of Oppression in Lusophone Historical Drama

Metaphors of Oppression in Lusophone Historical Drama

Metaphors of Oppression in Lusophone Historical Drama


New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., Oxford, Wien. Lusophone playwrights who wrote under repressive regimes and during politically chaotic times often depicted events in their nations' histories that were oppressive in nature - including the Inquisition, slavery, and colonialism. Using techniques derived from Bertolt Brecht, the playwrights intended to make their audiences reconsider not only the action taking place onstage, but also its relevance to the contemporary sociopolitical situation. This characteristic can be observed in Brazilian and Portuguese plays written during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as Angolan plays written in the 1980s. The seven dramatic works analyzed in this book exemplify how contemporary Lusophone playwrights portray themes of past oppression to covertly discuss political repression and the seeds of civil wars in the second half of the twentieth century.


For nations, like people, distant memory of trauma can
be submerged and repressed but never extinguished

—Vern E. Smith and Allison Samuels
“The Long Shadow of Slavery”

Definitions of historical drama

This book is a comparative analysis of late twentieth century Lusophone historical drama. It first provides a background in the genre of historical drama in Portuguese-speaking countries from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. the study then critiques seven modern plays, written between 1961 and 1988 in Angola, Brazil, and Portugal. the plays examined are O Santo Inquérito (1966) (The Holy Inquisition) by Alfredo Dias Gomes, O Judeu (1966) (The Jew) by Bernardo Santareno, A Revolta da Casa dos Ídolos (1980) (The Revolt of the House of Idols) by Pepetela, Ana, Zé e os escravos (1988) (Ana, Zé and the Slaves) by José Mena Abrantes, Arena conta Zumbi (1964) (Arena Tells Zumbi) by Augusto Boal and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Felizmente há luar! (1961) (Luckily, There’s Moonlight!) by Luís de Sttau Monteiro, and Calabar: o elogio da traição (1974) (Calabar: in Praise of Treason) by Chico Buarque de Hollanda and Ruy Guerra.

As shown in this analysis, there is a direct correlation between the historical topics chosen by playwrights and the periods in which . . .

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