Derek Walcott, the Caribbean Nobel winner, has creolized Homer’s epic poem under the title of The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1993). As discussed, Walcott has been loyal to the Homeric idiom in his reconfiguration and there are only minor changes to the Greek counterpart. However, John Thieme takes this adaptation as “reverse colonization”. Drawing on Henry Louis Gates’ concept of “Signifyin(g)” as theoretical framework, this article focuses on the three characters in Walcott’s version in order to examine the ways in which they displace the hegemonic position of the West as the cradle of culture and civilization. Walcott’s drama consists of some non-Homeric characters one of which is an African Esu-like Billy Blue, who inaugurates the play as a character and a Blues singer. Eurycleia, a Homeric character, appears as an Egyptian servant and nurse who forms the minds of Odysseus and Telemachus with African imaginations. Another Esu-like character is Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who, as a divine intruder similar to the Homeric version, assists Odysseus in his hindered nostos (homecoming). The racial contribution of these characters to the Homeric myth and the common denominators between them and African-American trickster figures uncovers Walcott’s stand towards the roots of classical culture and literature. This, in itself, confirms Martin Bernal’s controversial proposition regarding the African and Asian origin of Western civilization in his Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (1987).
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