Wole soyinkas death and the kings horseman

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wole soyinkas death and the kings horseman

Death and the Kings Horseman: A Play by Wole Soyinka

Based on events that took place in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria, in 1946, Wole Soyinkas powerful play concerns the intertwined lives of Elesin Oba, the kings chief horseman; his son, Olunde, now studying medicine in England; and Simon Pilkings, the colonial district officer. The king has died and Elesin, his chief horseman, is expected by law and custom to commit suicide and accompany his ruler to heaven. The stage is set for a dramatic climax when Pilkings learns of the ritual and decides to intervene and Elesins son arrives home.
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Published 09.01.2019

DEATH OF THE KINGS HORSEMAN

Wole Soyinka's dramatic portrayal of colonial Nigeria in the s. A colonial district officer intervenes to stop a local man committing ritual suicide.
Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka on how he came to write Death and the King's Horseman

The play opens with Elesin and his praise-singer entering the marketplace. Elesin is an expansive, gregarious, and zesty man, and he and the praise-singer banter back and forth. The women, including the mother of the marketplace, Iyaloja , arrive and watch and listen. Elesin boasts of how he is not afraid of death and is prepared for his fate. When the women call him a man of honor, Elesin takes on an air of mock-anger. He tells them his attire is not very honorable, and, relieved, they help garb him in beautiful clothing.

by Wole Soyinka

Death and the King's Horseman is a play by Wole Soyinka based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during British colonial rule: the horseman of a Yoruba King was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. Soyinka wrote the play in Cambridge , where he was a fellow at Churchill College during his political exile from Nigeria. In particular, he says that the play should not be considered as "clash of cultures.

W ole Soyinka is explaining what moved him, in the mids, to write his play Death and the King's Horseman. And that means, inevitably, telling a story. At the time, he was a fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, he says, one of the Nobel laureate's many periods of political exile from his home in Nigeria. Every day, as he came down the college staircase, he would pass a bust of Winston Churchill, that old bulldog of British colonialism. And, every day, he caught himself thinking the same thing.

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