Wole Soyinka

Start Free Trial

Justify the title "The Trials of Brother Jero".

Quick answer:

The title The Trials of Brother Jero can be justified as an ironic commentary on events in this satirical play. The eponymous character is beset by a number of trials throughout the play, all of them relating in some way to his work as a self-declared prophet. The title is satirical in that it makes Brother Jero sound like a genuine holy man going through strife rather than the money-grubbing charlatan he really is.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Brother Jero endures a number of trials throughout the play. For instance, Jero must deal with the insistent demands of the bad-tempered Amope and he gives her the money he owes her for a velvet cape. In case we hadn't already realized it after Jero's opening monologue, this self-proclaimed prophet is not a genuine holy man but a complete charlatan obsessed with grabbing as much money and property as he can.

Amope doesn't take no for an answer and camps outside Jero's house until he pays her what he owes. In the meantime, Amope's hen-pecked husband Chume comes to see Jero on the beach and pours out his heart concerning his unhappy marriage. Such pastoral work may not be to Jero's liking, but being a religious prophet has its fair share of responsibilities, and offering support to one's followers is a very onerous responsibility indeed. A trial, one might say.

The title of the play is an ironic reference to the trials that Jesus underwent in the desert. Jero is no Jesus, of course, but he certainly acts like he is. In fact, Jero is almost like Jesus in reverse. Whereas Jesus didn't succumb to temptation, despite all the earthly delights offered him by Satan, Jero's whole world is based on the acquisition of wealth and power.

Appropriately enough, his life has more than its fair share of trials, such as having to run for his life when an enraged Chume realizes that Jero is the one who owes Amope some money. But this trial, like all the others he has to endure, is entirely the result of his greed and dishonesty.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial