Henri Christophe: a Haitian Macbeth


  • Rosario León


The dramatic play Henri Christophe: A Chronicle in Seven Scenes (1949) by Saint Lucian playwright Derek Walcott sets the scene during the rule of Henri Christophe, one of the great leaders of the Haitian Revolution, in Northern Haiti, from his ascent to power, through his controverted excesses, until his downfall. The article analyses this drama from two points of view, on the one hand, discussing and controverting the nature of the play as a historical drama, and on the other hand analysing it from an intertextual perspective, starting from the allusions to various Shakespeare’s works, especially the one alluded in the title. The article puts forward the idea that the work of Walcott does not conform with the model of historical drama, since it makes almost no reference to the macro historical context, and it fails to mention the historical forces driving the conflict. Instead, he focuses on the character development of the hero, modelled after Macbeth, where the opposing forces are internal and arise from the passions of the character.