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Metaphors of Oppression in Lusophone Historical Drama

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Bonnie S. Wassermann

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.