Folklore as an aspect of the African oral tradition has been traced to traditional African society handed down by customs, beliefs and an aspect of culture handed down by our for forefathers through orature. Conflict that arises over death and the quest for re-invention in the plays of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman (1975) and Hope Eghagha’s Death not a Redeemer, (1998) as well as the themes, genres, song and other aspect of oral literature that form its aesthetics. Sociological theory, the study of the human relation in the society will be used for the critical analysis of the two plays under study. The analyses of the two plays have revealed the importance of folkloric tradition in the African oral tradition and it has also revealed that folklore helps Africans. Reunite with their traditional past which they have lost through colonialism. The conclusion is drawn from two perspectives of the playwrights, Wole Soyinka is saying that tradition must stand using Olunde to portray this view; Hope Eghagha on the other hand beliefs that tradition should be respected, but it is open to change, as the only permanent thing is change.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contentsvi
Purpose of the Study9
Scope and Limitation of the Study10
Justification of the Study10
Organization of Chapters11
The conflict over Death in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman22
The conflict over death and the quest for re-invention in Hope Eghagha’s Death not a Redeemer30
The Element of folklore Employed in the Critical Analysis of the plays of Wole-
Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and Hope Eghagha’s Death not a Redeemer 38
A member of African dramatists who writes African plays in English Language adapt their work from the oral tradition particularly Wole Soyinka and Hope Enghagha whose works serve as the focus of this research.
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king’s Horseman (1975) are based on ritual, custom, tradition of particular people, which is said to be folklore. Hope Eghagha’s Death not a Redeemer (1998) is motivated by Soyinka’s Death and the king’s Horse man (1975). Few definitions by scholars on folklore will give a better understanding on what folklore entails.
Edward D. Ivese and Joe Scott (1978) saw folklore as:
No song, no performance, no act of creation can be properly understood apart from the culture or sub-culture in which it is bound and which it is a part, nor should any work of art be looked on as a thing in itself apart from the (continuum of creation consumption).
Benjamin A. Botkin (1938) gives a very clear definition of what folklore is about.
Folklore is a body of traditional belief, custom and expression handed down largely by word of mouth and circulating chiefly outside of commercial and academic means of communication and instruction.
These definitions express what folklore entails in different words.
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of that culture, sub culture or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folkloristic. The word ‘folklore’ was first used by the English antiquarian William Thomas in a letter published by the London journal in 1846. In usage, there is a continuum between folklore and mythology. Smith Thompson made a major attempt to index the motifs of both folklore and mythology providing an outline into which new motifs can be placed and scholars can track all older motifs.
Folklore can be divided into four areas of study, artifact (such as voodoo dollar), describable and transmissible entity (oral tradition), culture and behaviour (ritual). These areas do not stand alone; however, as often a particular item or element may fit into more than one of these areas.
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