Thursday, March 27, 2008

Death and The King's Horseman

During class the other day I was pondering the attempted suicide by Elesion. When we were talking about it, it seems most of the class did not share my opinion of how the power was giving to the colonizer by leaving the attempted suicide out of the play. The power is given to the colonizers because he stopped an ancient ritual seemingly with little effort. Not only does this grant the white colonizers power, but by leaving the attempt out we never get to see the hesitation of Elesin. Therefore without the hesitation from Elesin, the power of the colonizer is greater because it seems the failed suicide is solely placed on Pilkings.

1 comment:

Roger Market said...

I think one could argue either case. Just be careful: You said at the end of your post that the power seemed to be "solely placed on Pilkings," but this is not necessarily true. The play is intentionally ambiguous, which is why one could make both arguments, but neither could be made CONCLUSIVELY—there's that Hall principle again! Anyway, the dialogue between Elesin and Iyaloja, at the end, suggests that Elesin DID hesitate and, ultimately, refuse to kill himself. The ambiguity is a great theatrical device that makes people think. If you want to look at it as someone's taking of power , you can't ignore the fact that the play gives power to both Elesin AND Pilkings, from different points of view. It's up to you (and any other reader) to decide which point of view to take, who has the power. Of course, your decision/viewpoint is fine; you just need the RIGHT kind of evidence to back it up.