Tragedy in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and John Millington Synge’s Riders to the Sea: A Post-Colonial Study
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The present paper is a post-colonial study of the plays: Death and the King’s Horseman written by Wole Soyinka and Riders to the Sea by John M. Synge. Through my investigation, I have tried to demonstrate the absence of the most central elements that shape an Aristotelian tragedy in these plays. I have, actually, conducted my study in the light of the theory of post-colonial literature as developed in the books The Empire Writes Back, written by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin and Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics by Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins. Through the analysis of each of the play’s plot, I have reached the following results. Soyinka’s play deals mainly with a ritual tragedy according to the Yoruba cosmological order, therefore ignores elements of the Aristotelian plot, specifically peripetiea (the middle), harmatia (the error) and anagnorisis (the recognition of the error), and the same aspects are absent in Synge’s play. The tragic heroes of Soyinka’s and Synge’s plays are respectively ordinary tragic heroes or a common female tragic hero both of whom does not fit the rules of an Aristotelian tragedy. Moreover, the two playwrights choose to represent their cultural perspectives, customs and myths as a point of departure from the Western canons. These plays are, actually, good examples of canonical-counter discursive literature, as they succeeded to depart from the western form of tragedy.
- Département d'Anglais