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Journal of Cultural Studies

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The Town Crier and the Quest for Social Justice in Ola Rotimi' s Plays

OF Iwuchukwu

Abstract


This paper sets out to review the role ..f the dramatist, particularly the Nigerian dramatist, as a social commentator and an advocate of social justice. Of all the creative artists, the dramatist, I believe, is in a better position to mirror his society. This is because his work has a unique characteristic of presenting events in a vivid, picturesque and realistic manner. This helps to facilitate the assimilation of social contradictions realistically in the minds of the audience. Its message is therefore immediate. It is devoid of the distant intimacy of prose; the often banal, sentimental, condensed and esoteric language of poetry; the cryptic and abstract message offine and applied arts; and the often incomplete and inconclusive society-the rich and the poor; the young and the old; the literate and the illiterate. This is so because through drama, the message is presented through acting or make-believe motions and gestures. How well has the Nigerian dramatist performed the role ? Ola Rotimi in his works seems to focus mainly on social injustice in the nation and the factors that hinder true unity in the country. His plays i1lclude: If (1990); Kurunmi(/988); Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again (1999), and Hopes of the Living Dead (1993). Through these plays he provides a vision that could inspire the formulation of positive government policies, which if implemented properly, would lead to genuine national unity in Nigeria.



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