Rethinking Greek tragedy in African contexts : a study of Ola Rotimi and Wole Soyinka

Quaicoe, Lloydetta U. (Lloydetta Ursula) (1996) Rethinking Greek tragedy in African contexts : a study of Ola Rotimi and Wole Soyinka. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study is a critical analysis of two Yoruba (Nigerian) dramatic texts which have been re-worked from fifth-century Greek tragedies: Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not To Blame from Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Wole Soyinka's The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite from Euripides' Bacchae. Although there are similarities between the ancient Greek and Yoruba myths and rituals, the purpose of this study is to establish that the essential link between Greek tragedy and modern Nigerian drama is the influence of western education imposed by the British during colonization and to demonstrate that the Nigerian adaptations of canonized western texts are significant within the context of postcolonial discourse and modern African drama. -- Following the preface, there is a brief discussion of aspects of postcolonialism, the British slave trade and colonization as reflected in the ideological structure of imperial expansion and the eurocentric assumptions written in history and literature. The next two chapters examine the plays individually with references to their Greek originals and the ancient African myths that provide the cultural environment for the plays. Appropriate biographical information on Ola Rotimi and Wole Soyinka help establish ways in which western education influenced their writing and provide the socio-political context within which the plays were written. -- The study concludes that the re-writing and re-interpreting of fifth-century Greek tragedies, which formed the models for western dramatic art forms, contribute to distinctive discursive practices aimed at challenging and interrogating eurocentric ideologies while authenticating and valorizing pre-colonial Nigerian history and culture. The transformation of ancient Greek originals by modern Nigerian playwrights show how the colonial language and cultural heritage which were used as tools of oppression could be used paradoxically as instruments to undermine and resist that oppression. Postcolonial discourse is marked by this irony.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5454
Item ID: 5454
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 177-190.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Rotimi, Ola--Gods are not to blame; Soyinka, Wole--Bacchae of Euripides; Nigerian drama (English)--History and criticism

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