In the play “Let Me Die Alone” by John Kargbo, Queen Yoko is a significant character whose role is pivotal to the story’s development. Queen Yoko is the ruling monarch of a fictional African kingdom and represents power, authority, and leadership. She provides wise counsel to her people, and she stands up for justice and fairness. Queen Yoko is also a strong advocate for the means of maintaining peace in her kingdom, even if it means engaging in military action. At the same time, she has a softer side, as she finds ways of reconciling and unifying her people after a particularly turbulent period of turmoil. Ultimately, Queen Yoko serves as a moral compass to the other characters in the play, and her role in the story is crucial.
Governor Rowe, the representative of Her Imperial Majesty, has an air of overbearing dominance. He has little or no regard for the Mende society, her people and leaders. The height of his arrogance is demonstrated when he commands his soldiers to stretch out the chief, Gbanya, for thorough flogging and fined him in addition. Just digest this exchange when Governor Rowe enters Gbanya’s palace:
Gbanya: My master, Governor, I welcome you to Senehun. (he moves to embrace Rowe)
Rowe: Don’t put those filthy paws on me, you savage! (p. 97)
The chief of the chiefdom does not even qualify as a human being before the colonialist; instead of hands, Rowe sees ‘paws’ and nothing but a savage in his own domain. Perhaps this is part of what Queen Yoko cannot stand ultimately and she commits suicide to save the dignity of her throne and her people.
In Wole Soyinka’s play “The Lion and the Jewel,” the theme of youth and old age is intricately woven throughout the narrative. The playwright deftly portrays the tension, conflicts, and misunderstandings that arise when the exuberance of youth clashes with the wisdom of experience. On one hand, Lakunle represents the youth’s excitement for modernity and innovation, and he espouses ideas that clash with the traditions and rituals of his village. He dreams of progress and development, but he lacks the essential wisdom that comes with age and experience. On the other hand, Baroka, the aging village chief, is a model of traditional values and culture. He is wise, prudent, and holds on to the village customs. The differences between these two characters are used to portray the generational struggle between youth and old age. In the end, it takes the acknowledgement of both perspectives for true progress to be made.
In “The Lion and the Jewel,” Wole Soyinka explores the tradition of bride price and its significance within the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. The play delves into the conflict between modernity and tradition, highlighting the tension that arises from the clash between the two forces. In this play, bride price serves as a symbol of sacrifice and the power of tradition.
The village’s elders view bride price as an obligation to be upheld for a successful marriage. They emphasize the importance of bride price, arguing that it is a necessary tradition that implies respect for the woman and her family. The younger generation, on the other hand, regards it as a way to exploit women and deprive them of their freedom by forcing them to marry a particular suitor.
The protagonist Lakunle and his love interest Sidi are in disagreement about the significance of bride price in their relationship. While Lakunle considers the price an outrageous demand and argues for equal rights, Sidi views it as a sign of honor and respect for her family. This clash between tradition and modernity forms the core of the conflict in the play.
Ultimately, Soyinka is demonstrating how traditions can be a source of empowerment for women, and how they should not be considered a burden but rather embraced as a sign of respect. Bride price preserves the sanctity of marriage and symbolizes the commitment and devotion of both parties involved. This play challenges societal expectations of marriage and gender roles while honoring the importance of tradition in African culture.
In John Osborne’s play, “Look Back In Anger,” innocence is indeed a major theme that runs throughout the narrative. The play explores the loss of innocence and the harsh realities of life as experienced by the main character, Jimmy Porter, and those around him. The play follows Jimmy’s journey from innocence to bitterness as he is thrust into a world of emotional and financial struggles. He also questions the values of societal norms, which can further be seen as a loss of his innocence. The contrast between innocent Jimmy and the more hardened version of him is where the play really focuses, and it is through this exploration of his journey that Osborne conveys the bleakness of the realities of life.
Jimmy Porter is the central character of John Osborne’s play “Look Back in Anger.” He is a complex and multifaceted character who represents the restlessness and discontent of the working-class post-war generation in Britain.
Jimmy is a passionate and intelligent man, full of energy and ideas. He yearns to change his mundane life at the bottom of the social ladder. His job as a market porter does not provide him with an opportunity to express his creative potential, and he seeks fulfillment by engaging in political discussions and debates.
Jimmy is presented as a “angry young man” – a bitter, disillusioned yet articulate figure who rails against the conventions and class system of post-war Britain. Although capable of great sensitivity and depth, Jimmy’s frustration often leads to outbursts of anger directed at his wife, Alison. His angry tirades can be seen as a defence mechanism, protecting him from the thought that his hopes of a better life will never be fulfilled. The play presents Jimmy as a deep thinker capable of generating compassion and understanding but unable to find peace or contentment in his own life.
In “Fences” by August Wilson, the theme of parental irresponsibility is explored through the character of Troy Maxson. As a father, husband, and head of the household, Troy exhibits various behaviors and attitudes that reflect his lack of responsibility. He refuses to accept responsibility for his past mistakes, turning away from his family and ignoring their needs. He is an alcoholic who eventually abandons his family and creates a wedge between himself and them. He also neglects to provide financially, pushing the responsibility of the household onto his son. Troy is unable to accept his role as a father and instead allows his anger and misdeeds to get in the way of a meaningful relationship. Ultimately, Troy’s inability to be a responsible parent leads to the emotional destruction of his family. The message of the play is that parental responsibility is paramount to allowing children to have a chance at a successful future.
i. Rose Maxson
Rose Maxson is one of the central characters in August Wilson’s play “Fences.” She is the wife of Troy Maxson, and is portrayed as a strong and resilient woman.
Rose’s character is defined by her commitment to her family and her selfless devotion to her husband, despite his infidelity and neglect. Rose is forced to confront her husband’s shortcomings and deal with the repercussions of his failed dreams. She is ultimately presented as a source of hope in a world of despair and chaos. Despite her struggles, Rose remains unbowed and determined, offering insight into the power of unconditional love.
ii. Cory Maxson
Cory Maxson is a central character in the play “Fences” written by August Wilson. He is the high school-aged son of Troy and Rose Maxson, and his character serves as an important reflection of the complexities of parental relationships, generational conflict, and a desire to break from tradition. He strives to find his place in the world, facing opposition from his father while trying to pursue his dream of becoming a football player. Cory also serves as an example of how individuals can be shaped by their experiences, adversity, and expectations.
“The Grave Land of Africa” by Agostinho Neto is a powerful and poignant poem that explores the theme of colonization in Africa and captures the mood of melancholy and frustration. The tone can be described as mournful, critical, and determined, signifying the hardships of African people over generations under colonial rule. The poem emphasizes the importance of solidarity and unity in the African people’s struggle for justice and freedom. Neto’s powerful words and heartfelt message are a reminder of the grave injustices of the past and a call to action in order to create a better future for all of Africa.
“Leader and the Led” by Niyi Osundare is indeed an allegorical poem that takes on a deeper meaning beyond its literal interpretation. Through this allegory, Osundare explores the power dynamics between individuals who hold authority (the leaders) and those who obey their orders (the led). The leader is portrayed as a powerful figure who demands obedience and submission from the led, using their authority to take advantage of the vulnerable. In contrast, the led are depicted as powerless, having no say in the matter and being forced to submit to the leader’s will.
The poem sheds light on the ways in which power imbalances can be exploited and abused, as well as the risks that result from such unequal relationships. By addressing this difficult and complex subject in a poetic form, Osundare is able to raise awareness around an important issue while also conveying his important message in a creative and meaningful way.
The theme of change in “Bat” by D.H. Lawrence is presented through the perspective of the narrator’s observations of the bat and its physical and behavioral transformations. Throughout the poem, the bat undergoes various changes, reflecting upon broader themes of adaptability and evolution. These changes are especially observed in the bat’s transformation from initially being a “moth-like thing” to its eventual embracing and mastery of the art of flight. The narrator also highlights the bat’s ability to adapt to different environments, commenting on its physical changes as it develops the strength to fly and is able to live in tree-tops and walls. Lawrence ultimately implies through his poem that change is universal and inevitable, emphasizing the need for humans to learn to embrace and accept it.
“Journey of the Magi” is a poem written by T.S. Eliot in 1927, which offers a detailed account of the journey of the three wise men from the East to witness the birth of Jesus Christ.
The poem begins with the travelers walking slowly and wearily after a long journey. They have traveled for months, possibly even years, through hot and cold deserts and barren lands. They are tired, thirsty, and exhausted from the journey.
The poem goes on to describe the difficulties they encountered along the way. They experience intense heat from the burning sand, bitter cold from a snowstorm, and exhaustion from being miles away from home. The Magi also mention visits to various cities and monasteries, which provide a brief respite from the weariness of their journey.
As the wise men continue their journey, they focus on the goal at hand – the birth of Jesus Christ. They briefly celebrate the divine event, but quickly move past it as they out of a sense of urgency, knowing that they must soon return, despite their fatigue.
The poem ends with the magi’s thoughts and feelings as they travel back home. They reflect on the changes that have occurred in their lives since the birth of Jesus and express their belief that their journey has been worthwhile.
The poem serves as an insightful depiction of the experiences of the three wise men during their journey, and offers an intimate look at their thoughts and emotions as they witness the birth of Christianity.