AFRREV LALIGENS: An International Journal of Language, Literature and Gender Studies

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The Pull of Tradition in Wole Soyinka’s Drama: A Textual Study of The Lion and the Jewel, The Strong Breed, and Death, and The King’s Horseman

Emeka Ikechi


The white missionaries and other western agents that invaded Africa during the period of the scramble for the continent came face to face with traditional and cultural practices which were inimical to their belief system. This resulted in a clash of the two cultures. This study presents instances of this conflict in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, The Strong Breed and Death, and the King’s Horseman. Instances of the cultural conflicts are presented and analysed with a view to determining the extent and effect of the clash on the two cultures. Findings reveal an overriding influence of traditional custom, norms and values over the western civilizing mission. At the end of the stories, African traditional values triumph over modernity. The pull of tradition over western values which started in The Lion and the Jewel is perfected in the third play. It is finally suggested that whereas the ugly aspects of the two cultures should be discarded, their good aspects should be retained for the achievement of a harmonious and balanced society.

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