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Abstract

A construction of the psychological deterioration of Jones is the wide-ranging social problem of racism. The only white character in the play—appearing in the opening and closing scenes—is a cantankerous sailor who is sympathetic to Jones, but possesses a profoundly deep-rooted racist prejudice toward all blacks. What is fascinating in the play’s exploration of racism is that the title character expresses an equally deep-rooted prejudicial basis against the natives of the island of the Caribbean’s. Although his skin is every bit as black as the islanders, he dismisses their intelligence, ridicules their superstitious ignorance and frequently refers to them using the N-word. Thus the play ultimately ends by posing a question to the audience: if both the white Smithers and the black Jones possess and express the exact same racist sentiments toward the natives, is racism really about skin color or something much more complicated?. Jones the protagonist escapes to the island and makes himself an emperor to hide the crime that he has committed; using the power he suppresses the islanders with a myth of silver bullet. But the power the subjects rebelled against him. The power which he thought would escape him from the horror of sin became a trap.

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