Religious Meditations and Mediation in Selected Plays of Wole Soyinka
Keywords:Wole Soyinka, spiritualities, meditation , mediation , hybridity
Major critical inquiries into the theatre of Wole Soyinka agree that his plays draw inspiration from two basic levels. One, which is a purely mythic consciousness perceptible in his early plays such as such as The Road and A Dance of the Forests, presents his etherealisation of African spiritualities and their interpolations with modern existence. The other is a social or political consciousness which deploys those mythic forms from ancestral memory (especially that of Ogun) as intervening tools on the conditions of dystopia in the postcolonial Nigerian landscape mirrored in his plays. By focusing on his plays The Trials of Brother Jero, Death and the King’s Horseman, Requiem for a Futurologist and Alapata Apata, this article argues that these two thrusts are harmonised in Soyinka’s mimesis on spiritualities or religion in his dramaturgy. The article locates the ambivalences in Soyinka’s refractions on spiritualities which anchor on the polarities of meditation and mediation and recognises that while meditation gives allowance for the playwright to engage on the locus of spiritualities, mediation is inspired by the crises of “modern” spiritualities which is one of the malaises in Soyinka’s hybridised postcolonial space. The conclusion of the article is sceptical about Soyinka’s prescription of hybridised spiritualities as panacea to the crises of religion but sees the need for continuous dialogue as precursor to mutual understanding and cohabitation between adherents of diverse spiritualities in the pluralised communities.
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