Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext
Keywords:The Road, intertextual relations, thematic significance, Wole Soyinka
Studies on African drama have shown the influences and the intertextual relations between African drama and European (Classical and Elizabethan) plays. It is also a known fact that African drama exhibits traces of African tradition and instances of textual relations with already existing oral and written texts. However, existing studies on Wole Soyinka’s The Road have tilted towards the usual literary interpretation or as a piece of theatrical performance with little attention paid to the intertextual nature of the text. Based on the challenges of these usual approaches to the study of literature by contemporary literary and cultural theories, this study adopts intertextual theory as a framework to examine Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext showing traces of textual influences from oral and written external sources. The aim is to reveal the source texts from which the playwright draws in the creation of the text and to show how these sources contribute to the overall thematic significance of the play. Findings reveal that Soyinka draws extensively from Yorùbá oral sacred texts, the Bible, and his own earlier texts and that these sources contribute to the eclectic nature of the thematic preoccupation of the play. It is hoped that this has gone a long way to mitigate the obscure claim of structural and thematic incomprehensibility with which the play is associated.
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