Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman tells the story of a man who fails to fulfill a responsibility. When Elesin, the king’s chief horseman, does not complete his ritual suicide so that he can accompany his dead king to the world of the ancestors, he breaks a thread of continuity that has for generations connected the worlds of the unborn, the living, and the dead. The connecting thread in this case is based on patriarchy: the kingship passes down from father to son, and so does the position of king’s horseman. Olunde, as eldest son, knows as soon as he receives...
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