Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hepburn's Hybridity

In her article Hepburn seems to argue about the role of the individual in the overall community. What I will focus on from her article is her placement of blame on Elesin. Elesin's failure to commit his ritual suicide is placed solely on his own shoulders and on the supposed flaws of his person. Yet this article fails to take into account the broader aspects of hybridity and the colonial system in effect within the settings of the play. Regardless of Soyinka's own comments that this play is not a commentary on political or social issues, it is impossible to divorce the rich themes and events of the play from this context.

Elesin's flaws as outlined by Hepburn are clearly his own and thus he is subject to his own unfortunate failure. This issue is complicated when looking at the play from the idea of hybridity. It is quite apparent that the influences on Elesin are those of the hybrid ideology of the colonial culture, just take his wife for example. Elesin's own flaws and problems although solely his, are tied almost irrevocably to his inherent hybridity within the culture. This hybridity is far from ideal and it is through this that we see the root causes of Elesin's failure as not his own flaws but those imposed on him through the colonial system.

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