About the BookA Nobel Prize-winning playwright's classic tale of tragic decisions in a traditional African culture.
Book SynopsisBased on events that took place in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria, in 1946, Wole Soyinka's powerful play concerns the intertwined lives of Elesin Oba, the king's chief horseman; his son, Olunde, now studying medicine in England; and Simon Pilkings, the colonial district officer. The king has died and Elesin, his chief horseman, is expected by law and custom to commit suicide and accompany his ruler to heaven. The stage is set for a dramatic climax when Pilkings learns of the ritual and decides to intervene and Elesin's son arrives home.
?Death and the King's Horseman blends European literary theater with total-theater traditions from the Yoruba tribe in Southwest Nigeria. Through poetry, chorus, politics, and storytelling, Soyinka both entertains and asks subtle questions about mass psychology, individual psychology, and universal human struggles of the will.