African Culture in the Play, Death and the King's Horseman

598 Words2 Pages
Death and the King's Horseman is an interesting play because it brings forward the culture of the Africans, specifically the Yoruba tribe, to the attention of the reader that most probably come from a different background. There are many ways to read this play for example, it may appears uneventful to some reader who only reads the play literally as an entertainment but if the reader looks at this play as some cultural study then the theme of understanding will surely be obvious and the reading will be a tougher task as there are many things that must be taken into consideration such as the "clash of cultures" (Soyinka 3) and "threnodic essence" (Soyinka 3), which is the main theme of the play. Cultural tension between the Western culture and the Yoruba's culture can be felt throughout the play because the writer always draws the attention of the reader to understand another's culture (Yoruba's culture) from a perspective of a different culture (Western culture) in the play. The struggle between the Westerners and the Africans to understand each other can be seen from the beginning to the end of the play. Regardless of Soyinka's claim in the Author's Note against the reader who would read the Death and the King's Horseman as "clash of cultures", which consequently makes them ignorant to the "threnodic essence" that discusses about the idea of death in the Yoruba's culture - which is the main theme that Soyinka wants to bring forward to the reader, the reader must not ignore
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