Death and the King's Horseman

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2002 - Drama - 77 pages
35 Reviews
Based on events that took place in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria, in 1946, Wole Soyinka's powerful play concerns the intertwined lives of Elesin Oba, the king's chief horseman; his son, Olunde, now studying medicine in England; and Simon Pilkings, the colonial district officer. The king has died and Elesin, his chief horseman, is expected by law and custom to commit suicide and accompany his ruler to heaven. The stage is set for a dramatic climax when Pilkings learns of the ritual and decides to intervene and Elesin's son arrives home. "Soyinka both entertains and asks subtle questions about mass psychology, individual psychology, and universal human struggles of the will."—Chicago Tribune
  

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Review: Death and the King's Horseman: A Play

User Review  - Ami Nicholson - Goodreads

After reading the Author's Note, I had high hopes for this play. I really appreciated the blunt nature with which Soyinka described his work, and I found his assertion that it was not a story about ... Read full review

Review: Death and the King's Horseman: A Play

User Review  - Sheldon L - Goodreads

Excellent play describing the interplay between the colonizer's interpretation of indigenous culture and the native culture's insight on Eurocentrism. Soyinka's play reminded me a lot of Nietzsche's ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Chapter 1
9
Chapter 2
23
Chapter 3
34
Chapter 4
45
Chapter 5
61
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on July 13, 1934. He attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before receiving a degree in English from the University of Leeds in England in 1958. He has held research and teaching appointments at several universities including the University of Ibadan, the University of Ife, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount. He is a distinguished playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, political activist, and literary scholar. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Bacchae of Euripides, A Play for Giants, Death and the King's Horsemen, From Zia with Love, The Beatification of Area Boy, and King Baabu. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems. His novels include The Interpreters, which won the 1968 Jock Campbell Literary Award, and Season of Anomy. His autobiographical works include Ake: The Years of Childhood, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Memoir of the Nigerian Crisis, and You Must Set Forth at Dawn. His literary essays collections include Myth, Literature and the African World and Art, Dialogue and Outrage. During the civil war in Nigeria, he appealed for cease-fire in an article. Accused of treason, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 months. Two of his works, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka and Poems from Prison, were secretly written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

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