Death And The King's Horseman By Wole Soyinka

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In the tragic play Death and the King’s Horseman by the Nigerian author Wole Soyinka in 1975, the author provides more insight into the periods of history by making clear allusions to the era of colonialism in Africa, and to World War 2. He is able to provide insights about the periods of history through his retelling of past events from the perspective of Africans. Given that Soyinka wrote the tragic play in 1975, he has been able to learn from others about the past and also lived through some historical events. This allowed him to have more insight from various perspectives on how situations in Africa were believed to have occurred and what actually occurred. The play is set to have taken place during wartime as pointed out by Olunde’s appraisal …show more content…
Wartime is commonly associated with tragedies and suffering from soldiers and everyday people, a time where all the countries struggle with uneasiness waiting for the outcome of the war. However, Soyinka shows that the British Empire was also focused on African countries such as Nigeria during that time, countries which were “supposed to be a secure colony of His Majesty” (156). This is a reference to the period in the 19th century where British imperialism was prevalent and dominant in Africa. During wartime, most people would be severely affected by its tragic consequences, but the fact that the English were still focused on “impeding” African traditions goes on to show that they have the “greatest art is the art of survival” (161). While England was a nation which certainly wanted to expand, they also took measures of prevention in order to ensure the survival of their empire in case World War 2 did not end with a victory for …show more content…
I believe that Soyinka’s tragic play would be a better fit for an interdisciplinary World History and World Literature course due to its direct reference to the historical events such as the Transatlantic slave trade, and the indirect rule of British officials that took place in Africa which led to the collision of cultures. This resulted in different written representations of what was happening in Africa during that specific time period, whether it be the European perspective or the African perspective. As better described by Olunde, the Europeans “have mastered the art of calling things by names which don’t remotely describe them” (161). This relates to the idea of colonialism when European countries were “discovering” Africa and hoped to Westernize them by slowly integrating their ideals into African’s cultural traditions. Literature writings during this “discovery” period were European representations for the most part. Even though the information may not be false completely, it often contained euphemisms and were written to favor the Europeans beliefs such as when Olunde points out that “history is made by describing murderous defeats as

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