Shakespeare in the Bush

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What does "Shakespeare in the Bush" reveal about the nature of interpretation? In "Shakespeare in the Bush", Laura Bohannan tells her story when she was in West Africa among the Tiv tribe. She explains the difficulties that she faced when she told the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet to the Tiv. Bohannan's story, however, shows a good example of how literature is open for many interpretations, and how literature's interpretations differ from one culture to another. She explains in the beginning of the article that Hamlet was her opportunity to prove her friend wrong when he told her "one can easily misinterpret the universal by misunderstanding the particular" (Bohannan.197). Bohannan believes that the Tiv will understand Hamlet because she believes that, Human nature is pretty much the same the whole world over; at least the general plot and motivation of greater tragedies would always be clear—everywhere—although some details of costume might have to be explained and difficulties of translation might produce other slight changes.(Bohannan.197) Bohannan, however, came across with many difficulties in telling Hamlet to the Tiv. She found that the Tiv misunderstood and argued with the details of the story more than the plot and the whole events of the play. The first example of misunderstanding was the word "ghost". Since the Tiv did not have the word ghost in their dictionary, they found it difficult to understand the meaning of it because the closest meaning to it is omen. Omen and ghost are two different words. Moreover, the Tiv's elders disapproved Horatio's plan to tell Hamlet about the omen. They criticized Horatio and explained that it is disrespectful to the chief and the elders to go behind his back, and matter things should be discussed by old people and not be youngsters. They said, "such matters for chief's and elders, not for youngsters; no good could
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