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.

Author Biographies

Richard Oliseyenum Maledo, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Richard Oliseyenum Maledo is a lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. His research focuses in English linguistics and literary stylistics.

Emmanuel Ogheneakpobor Emama, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Emmanuel Ogheneakpobor Emama teaches in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. He is interested in the sociolinguistics of English and the New Englishes.


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How to Cite
MaledoR. O., & EmamaE. O. (2020). Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 57(2), 26-36. https://doi.org/10.17159/tl.v57i2.6617
Research articles