Wole Soyinka: Death and the King's Horseman

(1767 words)
  • Christine Podollan

Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman (1975) contains elements of a Greek tragedy. However, Soyinka has adeptly created a unique work of drama. Written in five acts, and performed without interruption, the play contains dialogue interspersed with choral songs (in free verse, to be accompanied by drums). The chorus reiterates what has been said previously, offers historical background, and provides foreshadowing. This hybrid drama ā€“ Greek choral tragedy, Yoruba efe and idan sketches, English drawing-room comedy and Vaudevillian slapstick ā€“ is a singular contribution to twentieth century theatre.

In keeping with Greek tragedy, Elesin, the play's tragic hero, becomes increasingly aware of his flaw: too great an iā€¦

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Podollan, Christine. "Death and the King's Horseman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 March 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5727, accessed 27 September 2016.]