Playing the Fool with Shakespeare

Festivity, Falsity, and Feste in Twelfth Night and King of the Masquerade


  • Giselle Rampaul The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus


Twelfth Night, Caribbean, Novel


This paper examines the appropriation of a Shakespearean character within the context of twentieth-century Trinidad in the novel King of the Masquerade, by Michael Anthony. Although King of the Masquerade does not simply rewrite Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a comparison between the two works reveals a strong resemblance between them in their treatment of theme, in their exploration of the tensions between two opposing groups and, to a certain extent, in terms of characterization. In both texts, the Shakespearean fool also cleverly brings together differing perspectives about what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior, high and low culture. King of the Masquerade is not overtly counter-discursive to the play, so the engagement with Shakespeare in the Caribbean is nuanced in different ways, and the novel's exploration of various attitudes to Shakespeare gives a broad picture of the complex relationship between Caribbean postcolonial society and what was considered a metonym of colonial greatness and superiority.

Author Biography

Giselle Rampaul, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus

Giselle Rampaul is a lecturer in Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. Her research interests include the intersections between British and Caribbean Literature (especially Caribbean Shakespeares), representations of childhood in Caribbean Literature, and the work of Samuel Selvon.