Strengths and weaStrengths and Weaknesses of Ola Rotim’s Adaptation of Oedipus Rex for the African Theatre in The Gods Are Not To Blame

  • J.N.J Okafor


The play, The Gods Are Not to Blame is quite a successful adaptation of the Theban play, King Dedipus. On the surface, it would look as if Rotimi tries to copy Sophocles play without changing much. But as this paper has been able to prove, Rotimi successfully adapts the play for the African theatre. First of all, Oedipus Rex is mainly concerned with increasing faith in the gods and with ensuring that people pay obeisance to the gods. Oedipus commits the sin of hubris by seeking human solutions to a divine problem, and so his suffering is justified. Rotimi is not interested in drawing his people nearer to God or to the gods. Rather, he wants to draw them away from their superstition and general lack of initiative and hard work. Besides using the play to address Nigeria’s numerous problems at independence, Rotimi also brings in a lot of changes in the original Greek play. He dispenses with the chorus, in their place; he relies on the narrator and chiefs of Kutuje. He replaces Greek chants with African songs; he employs proverbs, riddles and other embellishments of language that are peculiar to the Yorubas. Besides, he introduces Yoruba incantations and black magic, especially in the mime where king Odewale kills his father, King Adetusa. All in all, it is a very successful adaptation.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057