Questions and Answers for Death and the King's Horseman

Death and the King's Horseman

Can you explain the character of Elesin in the play, Death and the King's Horseman?

Elesin Oba is a man of "enormous vitality", a little vain, much loved by the women, and known for his sexual prowess. He is honorable at heart, but susceptible to the weaknesses of the...

Latest answer posted April 20, 2008 3:24 pm UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Oriki

Oriki is a kind of Yoruba literary genre used to inspire people. It is usually in the form of poetry, consisting of songs of praise. Oriki can also take the name form as well. One must learn,...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

How is Elesin Oba portrayed as a tragic hero in Wole Soyinka's play Death and the King's Horseman? 

In his Poetics, Aristotle defined a tragic hero as a noble person who has a tragic downfall. The downfall is caused by hamartia, which is a fatal character flaw or mistake in judgement. The...

Latest answer posted June 20, 2016 10:15 am UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

What is the main conflict of Death and the King's Horseman in Acts 2 and 3?

The central conflict that is introduced in Scenes 2 and 3 of this masterful tragedy is the conflict between Yoruba culture and Western culture. This of course finds its strongest expression in...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2012 9:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

What do the similarities and differences between the two cultures in Death and the King's Horseman demonstrate?

Indeed, the original question presents a challenging task. Wole Soyinka, the author of Death and the King's Horseman, expressly warned his readers against a "sadly familiar reductionist tendency"...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2019 11:08 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Death and the King's Horseman

Why do the people attach blame to Elesin for failure to complete the ritual of suicide in Death and the King's Horseman?

In Wole Soyinka’s play, Elesin Oba is a high-ranking Yoruba nobleman who is bound to serve his king in the capacity of horseman. One of the sacred duties of this role, as Elesin well knows, is to...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2019 4:10 am UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

What similarities does Death and the King's Horseman share with Greek tragedy?

The distinguishing feature of Greek tragedy that relates it to Soyinka's play Death and the King's Horseman is that the hero suffers death (or some other horrific consequence like blinding and...

Latest answer posted September 17, 2011 6:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

In Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman, is Elesin a tragic hero?

In Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s horseman, the character of Elesin is not a tragic hero. His story is not particularly heroic for several reasons, but most of all because he fails in his...

Latest answer posted August 15, 2019 12:07 pm UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Describe the role of women in "The Death of Ivan Ilych," "Yellow Woman," and "Death and the King's Horseman."

In all three works, the authors portray women as supporting characters on the stage of life. In Yellow Woman, the Pueblo Indian woman follows her mysterious lover's lead. She is drawn to his...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Does Death and the King's Horseman prove there was a failure of the native tribe to maintain their cultural identity?

In creating fictional works, authors rarely set out to "prove" things. The concept of "proof" is largely associated with mathematics and with scientific experiments. When one considers Wole...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2019 6:06 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Death and the King's Horseman

What was the role of the traditional praise poet as seen in Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman?

PRAISE-SINGER: Far be it for me to belittle the dwellers of that place but, a man is either born to his are or he isn't. And I don't know for certain that you'll meet my father, so who is going to...

Latest answer posted September 17, 2011 3:27 am UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

What are some other examples of honor in Death and the King's Horseman apart from in the character of Elesin?

It is easy to forget the way that duty and honour are themes that apply equally to other characters in the play apart from Elesin, though of course these themes are shown to centre on him and in...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2013 7:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Soyinka specifically calls the Colonial factors "an incident, a catalytic incident merely" and "the confrontation in...

I am not entirely certain that anyone can mandate how a work of literature can be ready. Even the author cannot fully control how individuals perceive their work. This means that Death and the...

Latest answer posted December 23, 2014 12:31 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

How does Death and the King's Horseman increase cultural awareness?

Soyinka in this play presents his audience with two very different and, apparently, opposed world views. The Yoruba world view presents a view of life that is cyclical by nature and where life is...

Latest answer posted January 15, 2013 9:04 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

In Death and the King's Horseman, Iyaloja talks to the girl about not thinking about the dead or the living but only...

The final words spoken in the play by Iyaloja to the Bride of Elesin are “Now forget the dead, forget even the living. Turn your mind only to the unborn.” There are two interpretations of this...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2019 8:32 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Death and the King's Horseman

How does Soyinka present honor in Death and the King's Horseman?

Wole Soyinka presents honor primarily through the characters of Elesin and his son, Olunde. Elesin relinquishes his own honor by failing to take part in the prescribed ritual suicide within the...

Latest answer posted July 21, 2019 1:31 am UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Death and the King's Horseman is considered a classic dramatic play. What makes this play a "classic" piece of world...

What makes this a true classic in world literature is the way that it seeks to explore Yoruba identity in the context of British colonial control of Nigeria. This is one of the central themes of...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2013 9:32 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

What is the political agenda of Death and the King's Horseman? 

The political agenda of this masterful play clearly concerns colonialism as expressed through the very precarious and uneasy relationship between the two cultures of the Yoruba and the British. The...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2012 5:19 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

In Death and the King's Horseman how does each Act relate to the other?

One way of understanding the structure of this play is to consider how the play presents two very different worlds that are shown to be completely separate and which have very little understanding...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2012 9:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

In Death and the King's Horseman, does Soyinka provide evidence in the text to suggest there is an argument that...

It is definitely legitimate to read this play as being more about the life cycle than about the clash of cultures, though of course both themes are very apparent in this dramatic work. It is...

Latest answer posted August 22, 2013 7:48 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Does Death and the King's Horseman represent a tragedy for Simon Pilkings?

This tragedy certainly does not extend to Simon Pilkings in the same way that it does to the Yoruba culture as a whole. Pilkings in this play is presented as a character who is completely unable to...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2012 9:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Whose tragedy is Death and the King's Horsemen?

Yes, Elesin is a tragic character.  As the now-dead king's "horseman" he is expected to committ suicide in loyalty to his former leige.  Here is an excerpt from the character...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2007 9:13 pm UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Where can I find the complete summary of Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horsemen?

Death and The King's Horseman is a play based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during British colonial rule. The focus of this story is on the character of Elesin, the King's Horseman...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2009 11:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Soyinka writes of Death and the King's Horseman that, “Colonial Factor is an incident, a catalytic incident merely”...

It is interesting that Soyinka takes this view, as many critics argue that actually the central conflict of this play is, essentially, colonial, as two civilisations clash with dramatic and tragic...

Latest answer posted December 22, 2012 8:10 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Please comment on some important quotes from Death and the King's Horseman.

There are a number of very important quotes in this play that could be discussed in response to this question. One important quote comes in Scene Two, and occurs when Pilkings, talking about the...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2013 7:26 am UTC

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Death and the King's Horseman

Where can I find quotes from Death and the King's Horseman?  

Here is a page that has some quotes and commentary. You have to dig around, but the quotes are in there. http://geng239spr2010.blogspot.com/2010/02/death-and-kings-horseman-guest-director.html...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2011 12:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

What are themes in Death and the King's Horseman?

Death and the King’s Horseman is a play by Wole Soyinka. It was played on stage for the first time in 1975. It deals with the story of Elesin, the king’s horseman, who according to tradition should...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2020 8:06 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

How does the writer portray Elesin's character in "Death and the King's Horsemen"?

At the beginning, Elesin is the respected horseman of the king who plans to do his sacred duty and committ suicide. He's also portrayed as a ladies' man who has a difficult time resisting beautiful...

Latest answer posted April 19, 2008 10:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Who proves to be the hero of the book and why? Which scenes or quotes support this?

Elesin is the tragic hero in this story. Although the play is based on a true story, Elesin is a tragic hero because he dies to succeed in his mission: committing suicide to join his king....

Latest answer posted October 11, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Are there cultural overlaps between the British and the Yoruba people? What are they?

I would argue that the concept of duty is one that is common to both British colonial and Yoruba culture alike. According to Yoruba folklore, Elesin is supposed to commit suicide so that his soul...

Latest answer posted January 4, 2019 12:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Please discuss this statement in relation to Death and the King's Horseman: "Post-colonial African literatures...

This is a very interesting statement to discuss in relation to this play. On the one hand, this statement does seem to be true for Elesin, the central character of this play, whose failure to...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2013 10:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

How can I find the text of Death and the King's Horsemen online?

Death and the King's Horseman is a relatively modern play, first performed in 1975. As such, as with the vast majority of modern plays, it's impossible to find online. The reason for this is...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2019 2:04 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Death and the King's Horseman

What assumptions are made by colonials about the native peoples?

In Wole Soyinka's play "Death and the King's Horseman" the colonials, best represented by the character of Simon(and his wife Jane) Pilkings, does not understand the culture or the people of the...

Latest answer posted February 1, 2011 8:32 am UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

In Death and The King's Horseman, what are the indigenous people's beliefs about suicide?

Death and The King's Horseman focuses on a man named Elesin Oba, chief horseman to the king of Nigeria's Yoruba people. In the story, the king has recently died and, according to Yoruba law and...

Latest answer posted April 21, 2018 10:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

What part did tragedy played in Elesin's honor?

Tragedy is often present when you want to accomplish something but you can't. In this case, Elesin is honor-bound to commit suicide to join his king, but the British soliders who don't understand...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2011 12:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Death and the King's Horseman

Are Elesin's final actions before the ritual suicide, procrastination? Is there textual evidence that supports the...

I actually do think that Elesin wanted to kill himself. He also was naturally a little conflicted about it. Who would really want to die? He tries to live life while he can, and so he marries...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2011 12:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer