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The propelling factor in the creative interpretation of the society is situated within the region of a vision, and this vision is for the collective growth and development of a society in all the areas of human endeavour. Social vision becomes imperative for the political and economic upliftment of society that as bedevilled by all sorts of social problems created by the ruling class. This is in order to retard the growth of the society for the benefit of the rich, and for the poverty stricken masses to continue to suffer. However, dramatists have devised means of instigating positive changes in society by addressing the visionary disposition of the ruling class, through the use of metaphor in their drama. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on drama and the theatre as vital tools for the projection of social vision through the use of metaphor.
The propelling factor in the creative interpretation of the society is situated within the
region of a vision, and this vision is for the collective growth and development of a
society in all the areas of human endeavour. Social vision becomes imperative for the
political and economic upliftment of society that as bedevilled by all sorts of social
problems created by the ruling class. This is in order to retard the growth of the society
for the benefit of the rich, and for the poverty stricken masses to continue to suffer.
However, dramatists have devised means of instigating positive changes in society by
addressing the visionary disposition of the ruling class, through the use of metaphor in
their drama. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on drama and the theatre as vital tools
for the projection of social vision through the use of metaphor.
On Metaphor
Metaphor is one of the linguistic media and lexicographic characteristics in a particular
societal language. Metaphor has different meanings both in the English Language and
in theory but our understanding of what metaphor is all about will make us know its
relevance in our language and perhaps in the writing of other people, especially the
creative writers. Metaphor in Old French is called metaphore, while in Greek, it is called
metaphora. The most important thing to note here is that all of them mean the same
thing, “a carrying over or transfer” (McArthur; 1992:653) of one meaning and nature of
a particular object into another that does not possess the characteristics of the first object.
It is “a figure of speech in which a name or quality is attributed to some thing to which
it is not literally applicable.” This definition, according to The New Webster’s Dictionary
of the English Language (1997), of metaphor sees it from the point of view of two
different objects placed side by side but which do not have the same lexicographic
meaning or nature so that one is imposed on the other in order to send a message across.
Perhaps the best way to put the meaning of metaphor as expressed by The New
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1974) is “as implicit comparison between two unlike entities.”
(p 831). Of course it would appear that this definition is in agreement with the above
definition whereas this includes man and animal or tress: something that exists “by its
own right” (p 831). A simple definition of metaphor may not be enough without going
further to summarize the nature of metaphor as a figure of speech which “makes a
qualitative leap from a reasonable, perhaps prosaic comparison, to an identification or
fusion of two objects, to make one new entity partaking of the characteristics of both” (p
We can therefore conclude that metaphor involves the creative use of language and also
the “meaning transferred” and this is done as a matter of competence on the part of the
user. It is “a system of thought antedating or bypassing logic” (Nowottny, 1975:49). Most
writers, right from the days of Aristotle to the present day, have also used metaphor to
speak to themselves and their society for different reasons. Metaphor as used in
ordinary language is quite different from metaphorical forms in creative works. The use
of simile is part of the metaphor in language just as antithesis, metonymy, hyperbole,
personification e.t.c., various figures of comparison and metaphorical language also are.
But metaphorical form in creative work has adopted the use of allegory, symbols,
parables, fables, riddles, proverbs, satire, e.t.c.
Metaphor and the Drama
Drama trades in metaphor, for most playwrights, especially the modem day
playwrights, prefer the use of metaphor because of the social, political and religious
problems in their various countries. A drama that does not use metaphor may not have
enough dramatic effect on the reader/audience. The Marxist aesthetic and criticism of a
work of art, like drama is purely based on metaphor since drama is addressed to the
people, and may invite different interpretations from different kinds of people. This, of
course, also influences the performance or presentation of such play on stage. No
wonder why we have Gielgud’s Hamlet, Devlin’s King Lear, Evans’ Richard II Robert
Graves’ I. Claudius. Metaphor has really helped to develop the intellectual, study of the
works of the world’s prominent playwrights. Aristophanes’ Lysistrata has been seen as
an obscene play on the surface but beyond the obscene talk of sex lies the reality of the
power of women in creating peace and harmony in the society. Their domestic
responsibilities could make them have more power than their male counterpart. This
interpretation has made the work not only relevant to the Greek society of the fifth
Century B.C., but it has a lot to tell the present age about the negative political, social
and economic effects of war. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a playwright like
Iyorwuese Hagher has adapted it to the African society in his Mulkin Mata. The issue of
sex treated in Mulkin Mata is more elaborate, for it encompasses sex as in gender and
the total physical confrontation with man. Attempts by women to subordinate men or a
reversal of social, political, economic and religious roles, including those of
menstruating and child birth, are extensively explored to show what, if the opportunity
avails itself, a woman could do.
Drama uses metaphor just as metaphor presents itself in a “dramatic” form so that its
message could be given intellectual interpretations. It means that a work of art demands
an in-depth study rather than relying on the surface meaning for there could be a danger
of committing crime or encouraging intellectual laziness. It is also good to point out the
fact that metaphor has diverse meanings it does not mean that a playwright should not
use appropriate symbols and precise imageries, proverbs, riddles, e.t.c., that will make
his work to be easily understood. He must therefore avoid the ambiguous use of
metaphorical forms and troupes.. Metaphor is an enduring weapon that could be used
to explore the various dynamics of social vision. Social vision is however informed by
the need for a changed society where freedom of expression, association, and right to
life is guaranteed. This social vision is sometimes characterised by the aesthetics of
revolution and social change. For the purpose of this study there is need for us to
understand social vision within the context of a society and social change. This study
shall also examine Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, Bode Sowande, and Zulu Sofola who have
used metaphor as a medium through which social vision has been dramatised in their
Society and Social Vision
A human society is made up of individuals, groups and the institutions created by man
and how man relates with his fellow humans and all the various institutions in society.
In the course of their interrelationship with environment and one another social
problems may arise. Social problems can be described as
perplexing questions about human societies proposed for solution... social
problems are part of the climate of opinion in society which centres on expressed
needs for public policies and anticipated requirements for social control (Sills,
Going by this brief explanation of social problems, we will come to terms with the idea
that society is aware of certain problems that demand immediate solution and it is the
search for solution that pushes man into other varieties of studies of his society.
Man’s problems are complex and the solution to these problems may also require a
complex study. An individual could have a vision for the development of the political
or economic institution which is gearing toward decadence. This vision may not be
easily understood by his fellow human beings. But the need for social change propels
his vision for a more realistic goal. Social vision is primarily an individual effort before
it is shared with persons that have the same vision. The vision in this case becomes the
“Ideal thing” or what is referred to as “ought to.” In practical terms, social vision is the
thinking or the thought of an individual for the good of the society as the case may be.
This social vision gives room for social change. Social change, therefore, means
any significant alteration in the social conditions and pattern of behaviour in a
society. Such a change may be caused by fashions, inventions, revolution, wars
or other events and activations (Hemingway, 1974:12).
Social change is the manifestation of social vision.
Between Revolution and Vision
The major concern of this study is to explore the social and political revolution as an
offspring of social vision. It would be necessary to see what really is political revolution
from another perspective:
Political revolutions in which one leader uses violent means to take power from
another without transforming the system are also often called revolution...
(Shafritz, 1988:477).
Since social vision is the need, urge, desire, the thought or the “mindset” of an individual
for social change in society while revolution can be seen from different perspectives.
Some people believe that it is just a change, but other people see it as more than mere
change. Revolution has been described as major alteration in government and society,
usually embodying a departure from the old order, and typically carried out with
violence (Hemingway: 1997:540). The interpretation of revolution here is purely political
and it does not provide a basis for the cause of revolution other than the need to depart
from the old order; the old system of government. However, it is important to find out
whether this old order, disfavours the society and what reasons for a violent change.
Who are the actors and casualties in a revolution? Does revolution always succeed
through violence? These are some of the questions that the above definition fails to
provide answers to. A revolution has also been described as any social, economic,
agricultural, political, or intellectual change involving major transformations of
fundamental institutions (Shafritz, 1988:477).
We can therefore conclude that a revolution cannot but manifest a change in the society
and, such a change could either be positive or negative. The determining factor is in the
effect of such a change on the society. Having established by the first definition of
revolution quoted above, that it thrives in violence, we do not mean to suggest that
revolutions are visionless. The approach for the execution of such a vision could be
bloody and chaotic. It means, therefore, that vision also gives impetus to revolution.
There can never be revolution of any kind without a vision. Vision is the propelling
factor for the survival of revolution. The end result of a revolution will determine
whether such a vision is negative or positive. Vision is not a revolution and revolution
is not a vision but one complements the other. Vision is a thought of an individual, and
it could be a collective one if individuals of identical views and ideology join forces
together to make a change. A political vision is a thought of how a political institution
should be run.
Politics and Religion
Politics and religion have been seen to as vital tools in the growth and development of
human society. They are cords that bind the society together, apart from the cultural
affiliations. It is necessary to know the relevance of politics and religion in a society and
how one helps the other to grow. To many people, a political state is the weapon in the
hand of the ruling class for the purpose of to cheating the masses, whereas it is supposed
to be a system whereby the people in a specific geographical area organise themselves
with the intention of forging a better society. Perhaps the reasons for politics in a society
are explicit in the words of Appadorai in his book, The Substance of Politics (1982):
When we observe the life of man around us, we cannot fail to be struck by two
facts; as a rule, every man desires to have his own way, to think and act as he
likes and at the same time, every one cannot have his own way because he lives
in society. One man’s desires conflict with those of another (Appadorai, 1982:1).
For the avoidance of this conflict a state is to reguate the societal behavioral patterns.
However, politics, then, cicals with the state or political society, meaning by the term of
people organised for law within a definite territory (Appadorai, 1982:1).
The study of the relevance of politics in a society within the scope of the “purpose which
man proposed to himself as a moral being, living in association with other moral beings”
(Appadorai, 1982:1) is called Political Theory. However, many political philosophers
have raised several questions about the rationale behind the creation of a society that is
politically organised. Perhaps the questions raised by Sir Ernest Barker in his book The
Study of Political Science and its Relations to Cognate Studies, as quoted by Appadorai
(1982), will serve as guide towards understanding the fears expressed by the political
What are the purposes of a political organisation and what are the best means of
realising them? The individual wants to realise his best self: to what extent can
the stat help him in this, his natural endeavour? What is the nature of the
authority of the state? Has the state, for instance, unlimited power to regulate
the thought and activities of individuals or are there limitations to its power?
Has the individual a right against the state? (Appadorai, 1982:1).
All these questions from the focus of the argument of the pundits and they are titled
towards an extensive study of the nature, scope and limitation of a state and the place
of the individual in his society; the society in which he has surrendered his “rights” for
the good of all. It then goes with the general saying that “I do not make myself; I owe
everything I have, including my sense of self, to the community and culture in which I
live” (Urmson et al: 1991:250). Since a state is founded by the people living in a political
community with a good idea in common, it is this agreement, entered into by men, that
gives birth to government. This agreement is called the social contract. The social
contract then creates a political manoeuvring among men. This is what different political
philosophers like Hobbes (1588-1679) in The Leviathan (1651), John Locke (16321704) in
Two Treatises of Government (1690), Rousseau (17121778) in Contract Social (1762) have
expressed as reasons for the creation of state and the rise of politics in modern society.
Politics, therefore, is the art or science of governance; the way the political affairs are
managed or run for the “good” of the society. However, there are other theories give
reasons for the headship of a state. These theories are: The Theory of Divine Origin
which believes that God made the state; its ruler is divinely appointed; therefore, he is
not accountable to any authority, moral, but God. Appadorai (1982) backs this theory
with a passage in the Bible:
Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without
God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God.
Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered, and
anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself (Good News Bible, Rom.
The second theory is the use of “force”; the ruler gets to the post through war or violence.
The third theory is that of patriarchal and other theories that itemise the various ways
politics is played by the individual just for the co-ordination of the society with invested
authority. Religion, on the other hand, is a way of life within the scope of morality and
ethical behaviour which strengthens man’s relationship with the unseen Supreme Being,
God, and that of his fellow human beings. According to Nabofa (1989:6):
Religion is man’s effort in satisfying certain emotional needs by establishing and
maintaining cordial relations between himself and the super-sensible world, and
his fellow man. It therefore means that religion is a personal and psychological
thought in terms of his essence of being in the world that is spiritually insecure.
It has also been said that religion is a means of survival and subjugation of fear.
It is this superior power that man seeks to control which gives rise to the idea of
religion. However, religion is an ethical system for the progress and spiritual
development of a society.
To Karl Marx, religion is a tool in the hands of the state or individual to cheat,
subordinate, oppress and dehumanise the people, and then deny them of their basic
rights, including that of natural right. According to him, religion is
the sob of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, the spirit of the
conditions utterly unspiritual. It is the opium of the people. It is the sign of the
oppressed. The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilisation. To suppress
religion which provides an illusionary happiness is to establish the claims of real
happiness (Garaudy, 1966:106).
This kind of explanation of religion is politically motivated because when the ruling
class or the administration of a state is backed by the religious ethics, it means then that
the people are bound to be oppressed spiritually and materially. The Marxist idea of
religion is nothing but “a lie”, in the words of Engels (Garaudy, 1966:106-121). In the
theory of divine right, religion becomes a strong tool for the ruler in order to assert his
authority, using the illusionary image of the Supreme Being to cajole and brainwash the
masses by giving them false promises of hope and progress-joy and happiness. In such
a political state, religion and politics are inseparable; religion is political. But in some
states, religion is separated from the administration of political affairs.
Social Law and Justice
Social laws include the natural laws that guide the society against misconduct by the
individual members of the society. The social laws are made to protect and advance the
individual rights or liberties and progress of everybody in a particular society. Social
laws are made to provide a sense of belonging among members of the society. The law
finds its root in the tradition and culture of the people using the agreement reached in
the course of sealing the social contract or the creation of the state. This is made to protect
the state from total collapse; it is meant to safeguard the general interest of the people.
Social justice is meant to protect the individual members of the society from the abuse
of social law. It is a means of getting a fair share of the societal benefits or protection
under the law, by individual. These benefits of individuals include the basic needs, and
fundamental human rights. Under the rule of law the rights of the individual are
protected by the state machinery, collectively created by the society for the good of the
society. What is therefore “just” is good and “accepted” for and by all or the majority.
The citizens of a society become the oppressed when the state uses its machinery to deny
the people their basic rights, especially in their moments of needs. I must say that the
rulers with all the state apparatus — the military, appropriate the means of production
and exchange, jobs, companies, basic education, health care services, religion, politics,
security etc, where these are made for the good of the majority in the society. Each of
the various classes in the society has ways of oppressing the other but the lower class
suffers most. When the oppressed expresses a complaint it is with consciousness and
fear but the complaint of the oppressive class is with fire and brimstone as expressed by
Paolo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1982). The cries of the oppressed bring more
affliction from the oppressor; “what is to his interest is for the people to-continue to live
in a state of submersion, impotent in the face of oppressive reality” (Freire, 1974:27).
Dramitists, Metaphor and Social Vision
It is important to note that Nigerian playwrights have had to resort to the use of
metaphor as a philosophical paradigm in their works because of the harsh sociopolitical
and religious environment in which they find themselves. The vision for the growth and
development of Nigeria as state is expressed in their drama using metaphor as a
medium. Metaphor is a means through which the visionary playwright from an
oppressed background conveys his social, political, economic and religious comments,
for the sake of progress in his society, to the oppressor. A vision must be expressed or
implemented. A vision without human effort is not geared towards the progress of the
society or individual. A visionary writer must be heard, even though his life is at stake.
It is a patriotic cry he has for his society.
To Soyinka, man is a cannibal and the only thing to use to purge him of that beastly
nature is metaphor:
I find that the main thing is my personal conviction or observation that human
beings are simply cannibals all over the world so that their main preoccupation
seems to be eating up one another (Soyinka, 1972:15).
In modern day society, metaphor has become a tool in the hand of the playwright in
order to avoid the “axe” of the government. In Africa, most of the countries are ruled by
the fascist leaders who see writers of any kind; journalists and playwrights in particular
— as dangerous opponents that must be put to death, banished or imprisoned. The
ongoing trial of two Nigerian journalists over the presidential jet is still fresh in our
memories. The memory of the death of Dele Giwa, the founding editor of The
Newswatch magazine, in 1986, lingers on. Ngugi wa Thiong’o of Kenya was on exile for
several years before he finally came back to Kenya. In recent time and “before our very
eyes” (Adelugba, 1987:1) to use Dapo Adelugba’s phrase, Soyinka was on self-exile to
avoid the witch-hunting government of the late Nigerian dictator, General Sanni
What can we say about the untimely death of Ken Saro-Wiwa in the noose of the hangs
man of Abacha. Wole Soyinka and other playwrights in Nigeria, like John Pepper Clark
Bekederemo, Ola Rotimi, Zulu Sofola, James Ene Henshaw, Femi Osofisan, Fred
Agbeyegbe, Bode Sowande, Rasheed Gbadamosi have variously used their drama to
speak and to express their visions for the progress of the Nigerian society and of Africa
at large.
Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel
In Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel (1982) the fate of a nation with cultural and
traditional conflicts as the Western influences seemed to be the order of the day during
the colonial era; the interplay between the culture and tradition on one hand and
Western Civilisation on the other hand are considered. What Soyinka really advocated
for in this play is the amalgamation of the Western civilisation and traditional
civilisation for “the old must flow into the new... not blind itself or stand foolishly apart”
(Soyinka, 1982:54). It is the combined forces of the young and the old that will spell
progress for the nation and not the blind attempt to do away with, in totality, old
tradition. It is the production of the locally made science and technology that makes a
nation to be self-reliant. A nation should be able to stand with little assistance from the
Western world. The play is not meant to place western culture side by side with the
traditional culture but to highlight the fooleries of half-educated Africans in the figure
of persons like Lakunle, who imitate the Western culture and disown their own. The
play should not be seen as a portrait of “a clash of cultures.” Before we can imitate a
culture there should be a level of understanding of that culture in relations to our own
culture. Baroka, in the play, The Lion and the Jewel, though conservative and
traditional, likes progress and dynamism of culture through learning:
But I do find your school teacher and I are much alike. The proof of wisdom is
the wish to learn even from children (Soyinka, 1982:53).
It means that the old and the new are not in water-tight compartments, and modern
people should be willing to learn from the traditional culture and from the western
The Trials of Brother Jero (1981) is another play that could be misunderstood as a play
indicting the Christian religion whereas the basic idea is to satirise the religious
hypocrisy among the leaders. Soyinka made religion as a point of contact to speak
against this social and religious milieu so that we can easily understand his message. It
is a morality play. Brother Jero could be seen as a politician or a military head of state
using tricks and all forms of psychological waywardness to appeal to the psyche of the
impoverished citizens. A depressed society will always find solace in the mental illusion
of the Higher Being who will provide abundant blessing hereafter, which the religious
leader uses to exploit the masses, as Marx’s theory puts it. The Road, Madmen and
Specialists (1984) and Opera Wonyosi (1984) are three plays by Wole Soyinka that
exploit the fate of Nigeria in relations to the political, social and economic progress in
the world of uncertainty (in cases of political philosophy and ideology that will usher in
good governance), bribery, corruption, rigging of elections, looting of the public
treasury, denial of civil rights, social justice etc. They also expressed the state of a nation
adrift in the ocean of political and economic torrent and tornado where the leaders are
dictators. In his preface (Foreword) to Opera Wonyosi, Soyinka sums up the essence of
the play thus:
But how did (and do) they succeed in retaining power so long? Primarily, by the
active connivance and mutual protection, games of other equally guilty (or
nearly so) incumbents of seats of power on the continent. In some cases, there
was genuine ignorance, carefully nurtured by the falsified reports of their
national diplomatic representatives in the various countries, expatriate elites
motivated by personal self-interest (Soyinka, 1981:296).
Sowande’s “Mammy Water’s Wedding”
Sowande’s “Mammy Water’s Wedding” would continue to impress on the playgoers,
readers and critics on the need to hold, in high esteem, the environment in which they
live or wherever they find themselves. His metaphor in this play goes beyond the
Nigerian or African factors in the issues relating to environmental pollution. It projects
into the international landscape where global warming, as a subject, has become a major
discourse at conferences and in the governmental arenas. Sowande’s solution to the
environmental pollution is webbed in the garb of love for the cosmic phenomena like
the air, water, lagoon, rivers, land, etc. It also explores the dynamic nature of love, as a
virtue that exists between a man and woman, and how such love could be extended to
the environment in which man finds himself.
The focus of Sowande’s “Mammy Water’s Wedding” is on the importance of water to
the existence of humanity, and how wealth could be obtained from the sea, if it is not
polluted by the human activities through greed and selfishness. The myth of the sea
goddess (Mammy Water) and her love life with human beings is symbolic of the
cordiality between nature and human life. Tarrela, the mermaid, falls in love with
Akinla whom she saves when his boat capsized during a picnic. Under the water, the
two lovers vow to marry each other on earth. In this arrangement, Tarrela must come to
the earth in human flesh through Adagun-Odo, the Wastes Dealer. She becomes the only
child of Adagun-Odo whom Akinla, ironically christened Okuntoro. By sheer destiny
Akinla and Okuntoro get to know that they both had a vow from under the water to
marry each other on earth. Meanwhile Adagun-Odo had been a sworn enemy of Akinla
because of his environmental pollution business, which does not augur well with
However, in the year 2001 the Lagos State University Theatre Troupe produced
Sowande’s “Mammy Water’s Wedding” as part of her response to the national debate
on environmental pollution. The relevance of the play was prompted by the need to
sustain the Nigerian nascent democracy. Before that time therefore, a debate had been
on how to achieve a democratic polity. “The stability of Nigerian democracy”, according
to Fosudo (2002), the play director, “depends largely on the good relationship between
humanity and the environment.” A peaceful environment is the hallmark of democratic
disposition. According to Ademeso (2002:8):
The most invaluable gift of nature for the growth and sustenance of humanity is
our environment and the need to protect and preserve it, not only for the present
generation but for the future provides the impulse for Bode Sowande’s “Mammy
Water’s Wedding.” The undying love between Akinla (the earthly man) and
Tarrela (the sea mermaid) metaphorises the good relationship that should exist
between man and his environment. This is a play that transports you to the
world of the most beautiful creatures (mermaids) below the sea through dreams
and realities with the use of love songs, amorous dances, powerful, sensuous
and poetic dialogue, colourful costumes and a great consideration for all the
other theatrical contractions.
Bode Sowande uses the myth and reality to proffer solution to the myriad of
contemporary Nigerian environmental problems. The world of fantasy and metaphysics
is meant to create a mainstay for the folkloric undertone of the play. Ironically the play
was staged at the Glover Memorial Hall at Marina, Tinubu, Lagos, around where the
idea of the play was conceived by the playwright. The nearness of the Glover Hall to the
lagoon, the Central Lagos Market, Tinubu Square and the economic position of Lagos
State in modern Nigeria provided a bosom for the direct metaphorical construct of the
performance. The mythical and folkloric impulse of the play was heightened by the
immediate neighbours (the lagoon and market an either sides) of the venue of
performance.. The significant of this play to the period, in which it was written in 1991,
the year it was produced by Lagos State University Theatre Troupe in 2002 and the
current sociopolitical, economic and religious crises in Nigeria, is enormous. Its
metaphorical philosophy is enduring and useful to the contemporary world where
climate changes rapidly. Though, the play may be considered as a mild shift from
Sowande’s radical aesthetics as reflected in all his plays like The Night Before and
Farewell to Babylon. The play is yet to be published but it has enjoyed prominent
productions on the Nigerian Stages. Sowande as a playwright belongs to the class of the
second generation playwrights in Nigeria, and he is considered as one of the radical
playwrights that have explored, in no small measure the Hegelian and Marxist
aesthetics in their drama. Like his counterpart, Femi Osofisan, Sowande uses myth,
legend, history and folklore to express his message, and these are also webbed in the
aesthetics of dance, music, dramatic poetry and other Yoruba traditional performance
Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again (1979) is another play that portrays
the life, mentality, the moral and matrimonial life of a typical Nigerian politician. It is
very relevant to the current period in the Nigerian society when the retired Generals in
the army are mounting the political rostrum canvassing for votes. All the attempts by
Lejoka Brown to win the presidential seat are for selfish interest and not for the purpose
of rehabilitating the nation. Hopes of the Living Dead and If ... A Tragedy of the Ruled
are the plays that really highlight the tragedy of a society and the world of class structure
created by the capitalists and exploiters, backed and aided by the society (state).
Inequality, oppression, bribery and dehumanisation are the basic pictures portrayed in
the two plays in a society where poverty and the struggle for survival interplay.
However, Zulu Sofola, in her plays, The Sweet Trap and Wedlock of the Gods, identifies
the problems of women in the world of barbaric tradition and the security of the place
of women in the modern world. Her theses, even though they are culturally and
domestically motivated, are still of contemporary significance and have universal
It is useful to note at this juncture that all the above plays are metaphors about the
contemporary society, and they have also projected into the lives of the generations to
come. However, metaphorical messages can outlive the generation in which they are
formulated, that is the playwrights and the society could be outlived by the impulse of
metaphor. It is essentially important to instigate dramatists to creative more metaphors
both on stage and in the electronic media in order to help the policy makers fine tune
their social vision and responsibilities to the society. Metaphor as an ideological and
philosophical tool in modern world is essential as we move gradually to an enduring
democracy. The negative effects of the colonial and military rules in Nigeria and in other
parts &Africa could be dramatized and discussed freely in dramatic pieces using
metaphor as a garb in order not to offend the conservatives who would not want a social
.change. The socialist realism and environmentalist vision in the plays mentioned above
could be seen a metaphor for the advancement of humanity.
Adelugba, Dapo. (cd.). 1987. Before Our Very Eyes: Tributes to Wole Soyinka.
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Full-text available
Contemporary Language of Giving in the Nigerian Church
Before Our Very Eyes: Tributes to Wole Soyinka
  • Dapo Adelugba
Adelugba, Dapo. (cd.). 1987. Before Our Very Eyes: Tributes to Wole Soyinka. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd.
Bode Sowande's Mammy Water's Wedding: A Production Programme Brochure
  • Bola Ademeso
Ademeso, Bola. 2002. Bode Sowande's Mammy Water's Wedding: A Production Programme Brochure. Lagos: LASU.