English Project Topics

Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and the Lion and the Jewel

Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and the Lion and the Jewel

 

 ABSTRACT

This study examines Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel. Ideally, culture is a powerful force in any society. It refers to shared values, beliefs, symbols, and behaviours among individuals. It guides their decisions and actions. The study reviewed that Soyinka is one of the West African writers who over the years, his writings has dramatized the conflict between African tradition and Western culture. In The Lion and the Jewel, he exposes the conflict of tradition and Western culture in the competition between the two suitors: Baroka and Lakunle. The primary conflict that exists between Baroka and Lakunle are the competition for Sidi’s hand in marriage, one of the beautiful ladies in her community. For instance, Baroka stands for African tradition while Lakunle for the Western tradition. In the end, Baroka won Sidi’s hand in marriage over Lakunle. 

In Death and the King’s Horseman, Soyinka examines the convergence of two issues: the first focuses on the Yoruba priest Elesin, who represents the embodiment of the mythology and the history of his people; the second concentrates on Simon Pilkings, the Colonial District office who kicked against the priest, Elesin over his traditional ways. The two issues also come into conflict in the sacrifice of Elesin’s European-educated son, Olunde, whose death represents a significant and uncompromising affirmation of Yoruba cultural tradition. The study also showed that, both plays dramatize the issue of cultural conflict. It was therefore recommended that the novels Wole Soyinka should be given more attention as to enable the students of English and literary studies to understand the important of traditionalism and modernism and how the causes of conflict of culture and modernism in African societies.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page   

Declaration

Certification

Dedication 

Acknowledgements       

Abstract     

Table of contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

1.2     Statement of the Problem       

1.3     Purpose of the Study    

1.4     Significance of the Study

1.5     Objectives of the Study

1.6     Scope and limitation of the Study

1.7     Research Mythology –

1.8     Bio-Data of Wole Soyinka               

CHAPTER TWO

The review of related literature

CHAPTER THREE: CONFLICT BETWEEN TRADITION AND WESTERN CULTURE IN WOLE SOYINKA’S THE LION AND THE JEWEL

3.1     An overview in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel

3.2     Themes in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel               

3.3      Style in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel

3.4     Characterization in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel

CHAPTER FOUR: CONFLICT BETWEEN TRADITION AND WESTERN CULTURE IN WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING HORSEMAN

4.1     An overview in Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman     

4.2     Themes Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman        

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4.3     Characterization in Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman

4.4      Style in Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.2     Summary   

5.2     Conclusion

5.3     Recommendations        

Works Cited

 

Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and the Lion and the Jewel

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the study

Ideally, culture is a powerful force in any society. It refers to shared values, beliefs, symbols, and behaviours among individuals. It guides one’s decisions and actions. On the other hand, Soyinka is the first African who won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his accomplishment in the field of literature for his country Nigeria. He likes traditional cultures so; he came out from all difficulties with power to enlighten his people. His writings reflected both African and western influences, and the conflict and interaction between these two forces occupies most of his writing. He wrote about the African experience. As the most radical and powerful voice from Nigeria, Soyinka played a significant role in shaping the consciousness of the world.

Moreover, his works reveals the main causes of this conflict between the tradition and the Western culture as a result of the influence of colonialism as seen in two selected plays under investigation.  He depicts the post-colonial Africa, where modernity and tradition are in constant conflict. He also creates characters who challenge themselves in an atmosphere punctuated with the defenders of modernity in one camp and those who are deeply rooted in the traditions and customs on the other side.  In Death and the king Horseman, Pilkings is an Englishman who tries to influence his Western tradition in the character of Elesin, an African.  

In The Lion and the Jewel, there is a clear element of conflict between African cultures and the Western culture that exists between Lakunle the schoolteacher who is influenced by Western culture and Baroka who is uneducated and represents the traditional one. Soyinka therefore explores this space between the new and old generation as vastly wide. The old generation according to him always focused to their customs and traditional ways while the new generation found this old traditions as useless, primitive therefore it does not has any meaning, because they stick to primitive life style.

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Soyinka explained the fact that ‘tradition helps to know the real values of one’s life, whereas Western helps to grow one’s knowledge but it has a tendency to make one to forget about one’s past.. It is on the above examination that this research work intends to expose the conflict between tradition and Western culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel.

 

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Soyinka loved the traditional culture of his country. His love is based on sound knowledge and deep understanding of the elements in Nigerian heritage that have perennial worth. He is fully aware of the strong points in the Nigerian tradition. He is one of the foremost contemporary Nigerian and African writers and advocators of his native culture through his writings.  He has written several drama, poetry, autobiography and novels that focus on culture confrontation between the African tradition and the Western cultures.

He portrays culture as fundamental to human existence and also explores the conflict between African tradition and Western culture as a result of superiority over another. He therefore concludes that, culture and the tradition of people remains an integral part of their lives which also adds more value to the society’s integrity.

1.3  Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research study is to examine the conflict between tradition and Western culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel.

 

1.4     Significance of the Study

This research is expected to play a significant role in the society and academia. The research will contribute to scholarship or knowledge. The goal of the research is to sharpen our awareness of how significant the culture and tradition is important to its people as portrayed in the two plays under investigation. This research will also be useful not only to the students but also to teachers, lecturers and other researchers in the areas of literature.

 

Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and the Lion and the Jewel

 

1.5     Objectives of the Study

This study aims to:

  1. analyze the conflict and its effects between African tradition and Western culture in the fictional characters in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel,
  2. investigate the causes of conflict between African culture and Western culture as portrayed by Wole Soyinka,
  3. Find out ways of practicing.

1.6  Scope and limitation of the Study

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The scope of this study is limited to Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel.

1.7     Research Methodology

This study depends largely on primary and secondary sources. The primary sources include Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel. For the secondary sources, this study is on literary textbooks, academic journals and essays on the subject. Materials from the internet will also be used in this study since only few studies have been carried out on the research topic under discourse.

 

Conflict between Tradition and Western Culture in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King Horseman and the Lion and the Jewel

1.8     Bio-Data of Wole Soyinka

Soyinka was born in Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka on 13 July, 1934. He was born to a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He was awarded the 1986 Noble price in literature, and was also the first African to be honoured in that category. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, and also worked with the Royal Court theatre in London. He took an active role in Nigeria’s political history and he struggle for independence from Great Britain.

In 1965, he seized that Western Nigeria broadcasting service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Region Elections. In 1967, Soyinka was arrested by the Federal Government of General Yakuba Gown during the Nigerian Civil War and put in solitary confinement for two years.

Soyinka studied English literature, Greek and Western History while at the University, Soyinka and six others founded pirates confraternity, on to corruption and Justice seeking student organization, the first confraternity in Nigeria. Later in 1984, Soyinka relocated to England, where he continued his studies in English literature, under the supervision of his mentor, Wilson Knight at the University of Leeds, 1954-1957.

Before defending his B.A, Soyinka began publishing source plays, and also worked as an editor for the satirical magazine entitled the Eagle.  He writes a column on academic life, often criticizing his University Peers. After graduating, he remained in Leeds University with the intention of earning an M.A, degree. Soyinka is a Nigerian writer, notable especially as a play wrighter and poet.

He published the following plays;

Keffi’s Birthday treat  1954, the Invention 1957, The Swamp Dwellers 1958, A Quality of Violence  1959, The Lion and the Jewel 1959, The Trials of Brother Jero,  A Dance of the forest 1960, My father’s Burden 1960, The Strong Breed  1964, Kongi’s Harvest  1964, The Road  1965. He was also a professor of cooperation literature.

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