Ngugi wa Thiong'o Drama Analysis
Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s drama explores the issues germane to the transition within Kenya from a colony to an independent nation. Often unabashedly didactic in his plays, Ngugi probes the challenges that young black intellectuals must overcome if they are to alleviate conflicts of tribe, race, and religion that threaten the unity of nationalism. Although his early plays of the 1960’s usually revolve around the qualities of leadership, they also initiate themes concerning the tension between traditional, rural life and modern, urban life; the role of African women in developing a strong nationalism; and resistance to the continuation of colonial practices that perpetuate exploitation in the new country. As these themes evolve in the plays of the next decade, Ngugi’s drama becomes even more decidedly didactic, using an idealized history of Mau Mau, straightforward calls to action, and realistic portrayals of the exploited that are interspersed with pageantry to evoke the grandeur of African culture and the tragedy of colonial history. From his earliest play The Black Hermit to his volatile I Will Marry When I Want, Ngugi gradually shifts his attention from the confusion of a central character beset by conflicts among his loyalties, to the community’s determination to achieve a democratic voice in the political and economic development of the nation.
The Black Hermit
In The Black Hermit, the protagonist,...
(The entire section is 2965 words.)
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