Satire In Contemporary African Drama (A Case Study Of Harvest Of Corruption By Frank Ogodo Ogbeche And Death And The Kings Horseman By Wole Soyinka)

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

Satire In Contemporary African Drama (A Case Study Of Harvest Of Corruption By Frank Ogodo Ogbeche And Death And The Kings Horseman By Wole Soyinka)

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The literature of people is the one that seeks to discuss, expose and propose solutions to the daily problems of society, be it social, economic, moral, political or otherwise. Since literature is seen as reflecting life, literature and society are inseparable. To a certain extent this inspires literary artists who bring theories into the literature to affect their art in order to propose solutions to these problems and to show the way forward.

Satire is a kind of literature and sometimes graphic and performing arts, where vices, follies, abuses and falsities are bound to ridicule ideally with the intention of humiliating individuals and society itself, Even in improvement although Satire is usually funny, A more important purpose is often social corrective or constructive criticism using the mind as a weapon. Satire is now found in many forms of artistic expression, including literature, plays commentary and media. The word satire comes from the Latin word Satur and from the following sentence LanxSatura. Saturation meant “complete”, but the juxtaposition with Lanx moved the meaning of “variety or pastiche”, meaning a combination of different kinds. The Satirist uses a range of stylistic methods that can include irony, mockery, and Exaggeration and so on to attack madness.

According to Charles Sanders, satire dissipates the illusions that man needs to live. Because he always deals with the contemporary, he runs the risk of living only a short life. It is said that satire offers neither the escape of comedy nor the purgation of tragedy. It is only a mixture of unresolved irritating pleasure (15)

Satire is a creative genre in which the criticism of certain cultural or other activities is manifested by a strong use of irony and sarcasm. This type of criticism can be humorous, although entertainment and humor are not necessarily the main goals, humor is often used to compensate for the harshness of the criticism itself. Satire works effectively in a society that is aware of the acceptable standards of morality and manner. To achieve this goal, the satirist must take certain values ​​against which one can depict a sudden drop in the standard of behavior or aberration.

In general, someone uses this type of criticism to show offense or offense to someone else’s actions or words. It can be expressed in several different ways, however, and direct criticism can ultimately feel like a person is simply “preaching” his opinion to others, using more creative methods allows someone to express the idea In a more disarming manner, the real message of the criticism to more clearly come across, often the use of the mind, sarcasm and irony.

As Adeseeke (2008) pointed out, a large-scale introduction to the dramatic writings of Wole Soyinka and a thorough and complete study of satire in fourteen of the Childe International Soyinka plays to King Baabu and sketches before the Blackout. Ebewo Patrick treats satire as an instrument of criticism, a literary genus and an establishment in society. He reconnoiters the antiquity and definition of sarcasm in various cultural contexts, approaching Soyinka as an African satirist influenced by Western and African satirical modes. He considers the functions of comic and tragic satire in Soyinka’s exhibitions on the African socio-political scene and politicians, religious hypocrites, mystical opportunists, avid women and prostitutes. The author also suggests some reflections on the effectiveness of Soyinka satire and literature as a weapon for addressing contemporary problems and effecting change in society (Ebewo, 2002).

Frank OgodoOgbeche showed how corruption permeates government institutions and every fabric of the society as well as the devastating effect corruption has on our everyday life.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Satire as a literary device is a specific aspect of literature and it is one of many devices that express the idea through language. This is a style adopted by many writers and the different styles adopted by a writer allow him to tell his story and the difference between writers working is what they are known for. Satire has not been misused as a corrective tool or means for societal ills. However, satire seeks to create a shock of recognition and to make vice repulsive or disgusting so that vice is redacted from the person or society attacked in order to restore morality. The overwhelming socio-political problems facing the African continent can rarely be ignored by African writers. Ogunba (2009: 21) thus expresses this concern: When the writer in his own society can no longer function as a consciousness, he must recognize that his choice is between totally refusing or retiring to the position of postmortem chronicler and surgeon. The artist has always worked in African society as the record of manners and experiences of his society and as the voice of vision in his own time. The above explains the fact that dramatists are part of their societies and therefore have a Better explanation of what is going on around them as they function as the conscience of society. They are committed to restoring order in their communities, which have been engulfed in a myriad of socio-political and economic disorder. This patriotic ideal, burning with playwrights,

According to Awodiya, (2010: 33) is to use the weapon we have; our pen, our zeal and our eloquence to awaken in us the song of liberation with our writings. We wash the stigma of inferiority, awaken our dormant energies, unmask the pests and traitors among us, and preach positive sermons. Since the days of the Greek philosopher Socrates, writers have been at the forefront of social change, defying the mores of oppressive society. The mode of the artist to evaluate the socio-political system in a society is satire; a form of writing that mocks the bad or senseless behavior of people, institutions and society in general.

1.3 Aims and Objectives.

This study aims at studying Frank OgodoOgbeche the “Harvest of Corruption” and Wole Soyinka Beyond the “Death and the Kings Horseman” how they uses satire to bring to the knowledge of individuals that the correction or reconstruction of the society begins with oneself and this became of paramount importance because this is another way of sensitizing the people about social ills.

Specifically, the study sought to analyze the harvest of corruption regarding satire in contemporary African drama determine the roles of all characters in harvest of corruption examine the death and the king’s horseman on the basis of satire in contemporary African drama assess satire as a dramatic tool for societal reformation

1.4 Justification of Study

The text Harvest of Corruption” and the “Death and the Kings Horseman are Contemporary drama embellishes satirical beauty, but little or no attention has been paid to this quality of text. This research aims to study the importance of satire as a literary genre used to correct societal abnormalities and human aberrations. The purpose of this research is to investigate the relevance of satire to its effects on society as it helps to eliminate the problems that militate against national development.

Criticism has always involved a systematic measurement of good and evil. Satire as a literary apparatus is not used by writers just for entertainment and mockery; it is used to tell more about the evils or wrongs happening in society. Research therefore aims at discussing Satire as a literary phenomenon in society in general and encouraging humanity to mobilize in society for development purposes

On the other hand, the need to study works of art is very important because it is an abstract exhibition intended to appeal to the interests and emotions of persons whom the disciplines of aesthetics would call or designate as “Arts for the good of the arts”, Our contemporary society with the aim of effecting total change because society also needs to know better the contribution of its various citizens.

1.5 Methodology

In this study, the library strategy is embraced for its suitability and convenience. This methodological methodology entails data collection from secondary sources such as serious works, treatises, and documented materials usually from the library, the internet, and the book stores for the purpose of interpreting the primary texts. This relates to the qualitative research methodology used mostly in the Humanities disciplines as a means of collecting a variety of empirical data on case studies, individual encounters or contemplation, life story, interviews, observation, historical narratives, visual texts, which describe routine and problematic moments and meaning in the life of an individual.

1.6 The Scope of Study

The scope of this study is limited or restricted to the chosen text Harvest of Corruption” and the “Death and the Kings Horseman. It should be noted that there are many other literary devices used in the text such as comparison, humor, humor, satire, irony, etc. However our attention will be on the satire that the text itself is satirical in nature by highlighting the characteristics that characterizes it as satire.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Satire:Is a term applied to any work of literature or art whose objective is the ridiculous. It is more easily recognized than defined. Satire is a literary medium that combines a critical attitude with humor and spirit in order to improve humanity. Since ancient times, the Satirists have shared a common goal which is to expose stupidity in all its forms, vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, semi-mentality, etc.


Is occurring in the present regardingwritings being ironic and mirrors a society’s political, social and personal outlooks.


Is an opus in verse or prose intended to represent life or character or to tell a story generally involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The concern of this chapter is to recap what the researcher has discussed in the previous chapters. The main idea is that a man reaps what he sows. All the corrupt characters are brought to book in the end. Regarding the Harvest of corruption, Chief was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in imprisonment with hard labour and ordered to refund the embezzled funds. This punishment was his harvest of corruption. The humiliation suffered by Aloho for drug trafficking, her pregnancy and death also portray her harvest of corruption. Ochuole and Madam Hoha were sentenced to ten years in imprisonment with hard labour while Madam Hoha’s hotel was also sealed. This was their harvest of corruption. Justice Odili and the Commissioner of Police are sentenced to twenty years in imprisonment for receiving bribe. Ayo, the clerk is also punished as he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for receiving a bribe. Corruption The author illustrates the bribery, large-scale embezzlement in official quarters, drug trafficking, sexual immorality perpetuated by highly placed personalities who are supposed to be policy makers and law enforcement officers. Frank Ogodo Ogbeche showed how corruption permeates government institutions and every fabric of the society as well as the devastating effect corruption has on our everyday life. This work attempts to show that literature is an effective weapon for shaping the conditions, awareness of the people as well as to bring back right behaviours. This is achieved differently by different writers which is what constitutes style or distinguish their (writers) works.

This project looked at how Satire in Contemporary African Drama is ameans through which societal ills made fun of maliciously so as to be exposed and corrected. These social problems or issues trigger a move for a change in the society. The satirist therefore uses comic humour as an instrument of social mobilization and reconstruction in an evocative and humorous manner. To achieve this, Wole Soyinka explained what moved him, in the mid-1970s, to write his play Death and the King’s Horseman. Apart from this satire seeks to unravel societal defects in relation to what Soyinka calls the “rotten sub-belly of societyand these went in line with the analysis based on the satiric devices or features that characterized it as a satirical text.

5.2 Conclusion

In evaluating any work of art, we must make reference to our society, because a work of art cannot exist in a vacuum, it must relate to the society and must be about society with an aim to modify it. The playwright has open to us the social evils of the society ditto of deprivations, corruption, subjection and plethora of other actions through satire. His style is simple and polished but explosive and original with a satiric touch that is devastatingly amusing, mild (not harsh that will put people or readers away) and corrective as people are made to laugh at their bad behaviour and at the same time make corrections.

5.3 Recommendation

Recommendations are based on the findings of the research and if taking into consideration, it will help to improve individuals and the general society so as to promote right conducts amongst members of the society as well as to create room for advancement and development.Before society is reshaped, we the reader or consumers of any work of arts, must first correct ourselves from ill practices in the society through this, we are conscious of what is right and wrong. In other words, correction begins with oneself just as portrayed in the text under study. When individuals live with this notion, then they can stand bold and courageously to join forces with the satiric writers to reform the government and society at large. If a satirist makes fun of all people and their foibles, he or she tends to bring people together and enhancing their similarities therefore, the gentle approach (Horace satire) will basically lead them to realize by themselves that they are wrong which is a better idea than the harsh and more direct or specific attack on individuals (juvenal satire)

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