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The African World-view in Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman

The African world-view in Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman

In his play, Death and the King’s Horseman, Wole Soyinka uses certain literary forms and devices to intermix Yoruba culture and a predominantly European dramatic form to create a play easily understood by the audience, but that allows the introduction of a foreign influence. These devices include the use of a songlike quality in dialogue and the telling of stories, the use of personification and metaphor to give an exotic quality to the play, and the use of certain elements to provide the reader with a sense of the mystic traditions that are Africa. These Yoruban elements are best explained by the character Jane with “You talk! Your people with your long-winded, round-about way of making conversation” (1171), and the character Pilkings with “What is she saying now? Christ! Must your people forever speak in riddles?” (1176). The use of rhythm and a songlike quality in the dialogue and the telling of stories is used by Soyinka to transport the reader to another place. In the following excerpt, the…

Stereotypes and Stereotyping in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

Stereotypes and Stereotyping in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

In the play Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, the male characters make several assumptions concerning the female characters. These assumptions deal with the way in which the male characters see the female characters, on a purely stereotypical, gender-related level. The stereotypical assumptions made are those of the women being concerned only with trifling things, loyalty to the feminine gender, and of women being subservient to their spouses.

The first assumption, women being only concerned with trifling things, is seen beginning with line 120 where the men say:

Sheriff: Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves.

County Attorney: I guess before we’re through she may have something more serious than her preserves to worry about.

Hale: Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.

These lines show the attitude toward women prevalent throughout the play. It is the men’s nonchalance toward the small details t…

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…imple things in life, things of little or no significance to the important, male world in which they live. It is here we find the men to be wrong, for it is in the small, seemingly insignificant details that the guilt of a woman is found and stifled.

Work Cited

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles.” Plays by Susan Glaspell. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc., 1920. Reprinted in Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia Eds. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 1995.

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