Death and King's Horseman

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The structure of Death and the King's Horseman seems to be based on the tragedy, an ancient form of drama that focuses on a significant person passing through a series of events and making choices that lead to a great catastrophe. Tragedies have been written for thousands of years, and they are a great way to explore human dignity and our greatest strengths and weaknesses. The ancient Greeks believed that tragedies filled the audience with pity and fear, which helped the community deal with its fear.

Elesin Oba

The play is a myth based on the mystical experiences of the obas. Elesin possesses an innate spirituality and has many sexual conquests. During one of his final moments on earth, he meets a young woman who has great beauty and asks her to go to bed with him. Once the young woman is in bed with Elesin, he begins his passage to the next world. He dances in a dreamlike trance and falls asleep. However, when Simon's men arrive, he is not able to resist their advances and brings chaos to the world.


The play begins with Elesin and his bride, Iyaloja, emerging from the wedding chamber. Elesin begins to plan the end of his earthly existence by showing the stained cloth he's worn to his wedding. He is led by Iyaloja, the mother of the market, but is distracted by a beautiful woman. The beautiful woman calls out to Elesin and she asks him to take her to bed before he dies.

Ritual suicide

This play is about a man named Elesin Oba, the horseman for a dead king. Oba was given a high-paid job to serve his dead king. When he dies, his last act is ritual suicide, but the community blames both of them. Elesin's son performs the ritual suicide in his father's place and eventually kills himself.

Elesin's foreshadowing

The passage is an example of foreshadowing, since Elesin, the king's slave, has always enjoyed the king's company, fine clothing, and the best of the harvest, and he has always known he would follow him in death. He claims to be eager for death and accepts the responsibility that comes with it, but he is distracted by the richness of the world and his desire for more glitzy clothing, the king's horseman, and one last sexual encounter.

Conflict between cultures

The text presents the conflict between cultural traditions and contemporary Western values as a refraction of a historical event. While it is an important literary reinterpretation of an historical event, the novel is also a seminal reflection on the impasse between the two. As an example of this, the novel's chief celebrant, Elesin, is motivated by private feelings that are not in conflict with the public ones. As such, the novel emphasizes the use of the human body to complement dialogue and artistic rituals.

August 26, 2022




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