Elesin is supposed to commit suicide in order to accompany the dead Yoruba king into the next life. However this is not why Elesin dies. Elesin fails to do the ritual, this leads to his son Olunde committing the ritual for him instead. When Elesin realizes that his son has died because of him, he commits suicide due to shame, because he has failed his community, guilt also eats him up and the embarrassment he has brought upon himself by not being capable to perform the ritual. and being the reason for his sons death. He commits suicide because he is ashamed.
Elesin, the kings horseman, is to commit ritual suicide in order to accompany the king in the after world.