Essay on How does Soyinka structure this pivotal scene to reflect the changing tone of the play?

Submitted By echarel-o'reilly
Words: 723
Pages: 3

Soyinka structures his play to have three scenes featuring a pivotal third scene, which mimics the structure of Shakespearean plays in order to portray the play as a tragedy. Within this scene, Soyinka juxtaposes comedy with solemnity of death; this drastic comparison foreshadows the change in direction that the play will take.
Soyinka begins scene three showing a different side of Yoruba women, the scene begins in the women’s domain of the market place and the first thing that we hear is the ‘agitated hum of women’s voices’, this juxtaposes the more submissive impression of women that Soyinka portrays in the first scene. In the first scene, Elesin, as a male, is shown to have all the power, especially over women; whereas now the women appear to be removing male power and masculinity using phallic imagery ‘with a sudden movement they snatch the batons’. This shift in power represents the presence of British and male rule which will be overcome, Soyinka has done this to bring attention to his feminist beliefs as while growing up he became fascinated by ‘the unrest of the village women’ and therefore became an advocate of women’s rights. This change in tone also foreshadows the rise of women in post-Nigeria and the rise of women’s power in England during World War 2, at the time the play is set. The beginning of scene three is also very comical; it begins with the mockery of Amusa by the women and the girls of the village. The mockery of Amusa foreshadows the impending gain of independence that Nigeria will experience, as he represents, British values and British rule. It is not surprising that Amusa’s character is an outsider and is the laughing stock of both the Yoruba people and the British people and even his name ‘Amusa’ sounds like ‘Amuse’, therefore he has become a source of ‘amusement’ in the colonial community. Amusa also represents male authority and patriarchal values, the fact that the females in the scene make a mockery of Amusa also links to Soyinka’s views on feminism and their impending rise in status within the community. The scenes’ focus changes to feature Elesin’s marriage to the bride, where Elesin goes into and extended monologue, when the bride ‘stands shyly by the door’, the fact that the bride says nothing reflects the expected submissive nature of women at the time, but also the narcissistic nature of Elesin. Even though a union between two people has occurred, Elesin makes the entire situation about himself, this reflects Elesin’s obsession with his own self-worth in this world, which may show that he thinks himself far too important to be prepared for the spiritual journey that he is meant to be undertaking in the rest of the scene. The decision to get…