Past, Present And Future In Wole Soyinka's A Dance Of The Forests

1225 Words 5 Pages
In 1960, the play A Dance of the Forests was presented at celebrations of Nigerian independence. Its playwright Wole Soyinka was born into a traditionally Yoruba family, incorporating various cultural practices into the work. Thus, the play entails a multi-faceted incorporation of Yoruba cosmology and Nigeria’s contemporary sociopolitical status. Soyinka highlights aspects of Yoruba heritage by setting the action of the play in a forest that intricately weaves the existence of mortals, gods, demons, and spirits in a purposely non-linear timeframe. Consequently, the work explores the past, present, and future in a complex way that raises questions about the living and the dead. Primarily, how are the living influenced by the past accumulation …show more content…
Aroni. the Lame One, opens the work by explaining that the two Dead Ones are “linked in violence and blood with four of the living generation” (Soyinka 1). Although the human community had asked for “illustrious ancestors”, the Forest Head sent two symbolic representations of the “restless dead” so that the present humans would be confronted by their grotesque nature. One of the town dwellers, the Old man, speaks of the dead as …show more content…
Throughout A Dance of the Forests, Soyinka maintains a tone of warning to the current Nigerian people. However, he also provides a unique vision for the future of Nigeria. It is one where “was is [not] the only consistency that past ages afford us” (Soyinka 57). But rather, it is a future where the legacy of cultural roots are perpetuated, particularly the Yoruba heritage. The present nor the future continue to be vessels possessed by the past. Instead, the present and future begin asking “what does the past want from us?” in an attempt to forge an identity that restores African

Related Documents