Wole Soyinka’s A Play of Giants and King Baabu: The crises between ideology and (social) vision

Kayode Afolayan

Abstract


Any valid inquiry into the meaning of any imaginative writing will lend itself to the salutary credentials of its content and form. This recourse has always created a divide that seeks on the one hand the aesthetic value of the art and on the other its functional or social values. The social themes discernible in the works of many African writers have provided the impetus for an assessment that digs up the social relevance and the ideological slants of such works. For Wole Soyinka, many critics, building on the ideas of Chinweizu, Madubuike and Jemie, have identified a gap between social responsiveness and ideology in his works. This paper, using Soyinka’s A Play of Giants and King Baabu, re-examines the centrality of ideology to texts of social engagement in the postcolonial space. Within the context of the humanistic values that the playwright esteems, this essay scrutinizes the social conditions in the plays and the dramatist’s “vision.” The conclusion asserts the social relevance of the texts but queries the lack of absolute prescription in Soyinka’s work under scrutiny. Keywords: Soyinka, drama, ideology, postcolonialism, social vision.


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