A Gem of a Play in the Krannert Center

Gem of the Ocean truly was a sight to see at UIUC. By: Luke Garza

https://krannertcenter.com/events/gem-ocean

August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean was a story following Citizen Barlow, a man who was looking to cleanse his soul. We’re introduced to many characters in the beginning, one in particular who is made out to seem like a mean, tyrannical property owner, Caesar. The brother of Black Mary, owner and leaser of property, owner of the local mill, and the enforcer of his own law, Caesar kicks people to the curb and has them arrested just because he wants their money.

Caesar is later revealed to have made a big change in his past when he is confronted by Black Mary after he asks her to come back to work for him. Caesar shot and killed a poor boy for stealing his overpriced “magic bread”. Black Mary since then has wanted nothing to do with his business affairs. He feels as his actions were just and has no remorse for his actions. The people see this in him too as when one man is accused of stealing a bucket of nails and jumps in the river, he chooses to drown and die rather than come out and face the wrath of Caesar. Caesar would have bludgeoned the man on the spot if he were to come out.

Caesar is introduced to Citizen Barlow and immediately attempts to get him to live on his property as well as work for him. When Citizen rejects his requests he immediately threatens to have him arrested for something as simple as standing on the corner. Caesar is vindictive and manipulating, he only really cares about how he is making money and moving up even further in the world. He is seen abusing his power and constantly threatening people. Caesar is a character who exists to abuse and berate the others, he is a fine example of abuse of authority.

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