The Tragic Hero in Death and the King’s Horseman

1942 words 8 pages
TOPIC: Who is , Elesin Oba or Olunde? Please give reasons for your answer in a carefully written essay. Please use “Being, the Will, and the Semantics of Death” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Criticism 155-164) and “Tragedy, Mimicry, and the African World” by Olakunle George (Criticism 207-222) in your essay. The Real Tragic Hero Of The Nation
The drama “Death and the King’s Horseman” written by Wole Soyinka tells a story that relates to the burial of the dead king of the Oyo, which is held by the ancient Yoruba in Africa. According to the tradition of the Yoruba, after thirty-day of the king’s death, his horseman Elesin must commit suicide in the rite in order to accompany the king passing through the holy passage towards
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Olakunle George narrates in his article that Elesin’s failure to die at the point time is due more to his own human weakness than to the agency of British colonialism (209), and I have the same standpoint with him. Elesin lingers for every second in the world, and he finds a proper excuse for his hesitation that the white man comes violently into his fading presence, and he would have shaken off the weight of longing, already his foot has begun to lift but then, the white ghost enters and all is defiled (53). From the individual tragic consciousness, it is the instinct that when the life suffers from the destruction, everyone will put self-protection into practice spontaneously to get the probability of living, and Elesin is not special. In that case, if he lost the desire of preventing himself from death and the will of being alive, he must be the man without human nature- the pursuit of living. Thus, from the prospect of being respect for the life, Elesin is rational fighting against death which is the mission arranged by his nation and ordinated by family and he has to fulfill it. In the meantime, although the traditional sense of calling and the sense of honor leave no place for him to hesitate a bit, he is still trying his best seeking for the causes of putting off the arriving of death, this thoughts and behavior are the challenge towards tradition and also the resistance of fate. The fame and prestige, the enjoyment,