Abstract


GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 2, Issue 1, June 2016

Pages: 1-15

Wole Soyinka’s Re-deployment of Yoruba Folklore in The Strong Breed

Author: Guha, Saikat

Category: Research

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Abstract:

Folklore encompasses the entire gamut of a community’s worldview—from its myths to rituals to everyday existence. The retrieval of native tradition from cultural repressions of the colonial period was provided an impetus by the folklore elements in Africa. The plays of Wole Soyinka, a Western-educated Nigerian writer, embody a hybrid form of theatre deriving at once from his indigenous Yoruba folklore heritage and the Western dramaturgy. His play The Strong Breed builds on the Yoruba custom of ritual sacrifice in which the protagonist Eman is killed. Although he previously refuses to take part in his family’s ritual purification, the mature Eman embraces his sacrifice for the well-being of society which recalls the legend of Christ. Eman’s sacrifice also alludes to the commemorative Ogun myth of bridging the three worlds of the dead, the living and the unborn which connects the world of human beings with that of the spirits or Gods. The present paper will try to appraise, with particular reference to The Strong Breed, Soyinka’s re-deployment of folk elements which permeate the ethnic world of the Yoruba tribe. The paper will also study Soyinka’s theatrical methods of employing the Yoruba folklore which is not retrieved unquestioningly, but re-articulated with critical looks.

Keywords: Yoruba, Ogun, Ritual, Sacrifice

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