A PSYCHOANALYTIC READING OF WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

A PSYCHOANALYTIC READING OF WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

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ABSTRACT

Characterization or characterisation is the representation of persons (or other beings or creatures) in narrative and dramatic works of art. This representation may include direct methods like the attribution of qualities in description or commentary, and indirect (or "dramatic") methods inviting readers to infer qualities from characters' actions, dialogue, or appearance. Such a personage is called a character. Many playwrights go through the struggle of creating suitable characters for their play. They do not understand the psychological motives of the characters they may wish to portray. This research work has discussed the benefits of psychoanalytic Criticism in literature which will aid playwright establish good characters. This research work has employed the play of Wole Soyinka death and the kings horseman as a psychoanalytic case study for the readers of this research work, and aid understand the concept of psychoanalysis in literature

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        i

Certification         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        ii

Dedication -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iii

Acknowledge        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iv

Abstract      -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        vi

Table of Content  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        vii     

CHAPTER ONE

1.1     Introduction         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        1       

1.2     Statement of the Problem-       -        -        -        -        -        3

1.3     Justification of the study        -        -        -        -        -        -        4

1.4     Scope of the Study-       -        -        -        -        -        -        4

1.5     Limitation of the Study-         -        -        -        -        -        -        5

1.6     Significance of the study         -        -        -        -        -        -        5

1.7     Research Methodology  -        -        -        -        -        -        5

1.8     Organisation of work-   -        -        -        -        -        -        6

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1     The Playwright-   -        -        -        -        -        -        -        7

2.2     Concept of Psychoanalysis     -        -        -        -        -        9

CHAPTER THREE: ANALYSIS OF THE PLAY DEATH AND THE KINGS HORSEMAN

3.1     About the author  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        16     

3.2     Historical context         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        18

3.3     Plot summary      -        -        -        -        -        -        -        21

CHAPTER FOUR: A PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM OF DEATH AND THE KINGS HORSEMAN

4.1     Criticism on plot -        -        -        -        -        -        -        4       

4.2      Thematic criticism -      -        -        -        -        -        -        43     

4.4     Characterization criticisms -    -        -        -        -        -        48     

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION

5.1     Summary   -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        61

5.2     Conclusion -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

5.3     Recommendations -       -        -        -        -        -        -                 

5.       Works Cited -       -        -        -        -        -        -        -        64     


CHAPTER ONE

1.1      INTRODUCTION

          The main idea of this work is on the playwright and the psychology of his characters. Some playwrights today have failed in understanding the psychoanalytic structure of their characters, therefore, they have brought about the misrepresentation of characters.

          It is aimed at providing the playwright with the psychoanalytic tool to understand his characters. Many playwrights today write plays because they want to do so, they fail to make adequate inquiry into the nature of the society and character types they wish to portray. Every play begins with an idea, every good playwright must first conceive an idea before he or she begins to write. Checkov the Russian playwright posits that: “if you do not allow for the idea of a problem or intention in creative writing, then you must take it that the artist creates unpremeditedly not deliberately but as the mood takes him. And so if an author boasted to me that he had written his story without having thought over it's purpose before hand, simply under inspiration, I would call him a Madman” (21).

          It is true that the idea is the birth of the play, however, after the idea comes the inquiry. A proper research into the specified culture and people to whom the idea is built upon is a necessary tool for the playwright .Many playwrights just write based on the idea they have about a group of people. Lois Tyson posits that the conceived idea by the playwright could possibly be true, however, what are the reasons behind their actions, why do they act the way they do, and how do they respond to situations? What are his characters’ motivation, their ideologies and logic towards action?

          Every playwright before beginning his play must have these questions at the back of his mind; what unconscious motives are operating in the main characters; how can characters’ behavior, narrative events, and images be explained in terms of psychoanalytic concept of any kind; what does this work suggest about the psychological being of he the author; what might a given interpretation of a literary work suggest about the psychological motives of the reader?

          Depending upon the literary work in question one may ask any of these questions. This is just a starting point to get us thinking about literary works in productive psychoanalytic ways.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

          Playwriting is an imaginative art, therefore it must be creative and pleasant to read. The working approaches, styles, and means adopted in its composition affect the final outcome of the play as well as its effect on readers or audience if it is put up on stage. Experience has it that from the level of the birth of the idea, to the blueprints and final outcome of to play, playwriting is a very tasty form of art. Unfortunately, in the attempt to actualize a full fleshed play, some playwrights fail to make adequate psychological analysis of their intended character and society which their play is built upon. The reason for actions and motivations and inquiry into the subconscious of their characters, their defenses, dreams and dream symbols, the meaning of death, meaning of sexuality amongst many others. This work will outline the psychoanalytic nature of people through literary characters to aid the playwright in his art.

1.3     JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY

          The problem of playwriting and understanding the psychology of characters is not a new problem in the body of knowledge. Critical works such as Effiong Johnson's fundamentals of playwriting, Barranger Milly's

theatre a way of seeing, Brockett Oscar's The essential theatre, and many others have elaborated issues associated with playwriting and misunderstanding of psychology. All challenges or like challenges could be surmounted if playwrights could heed the advice projected in various works of art. This study, just like other scholarly articles is justified by the need to address playwriting challenges towards attaining the unified objective of playwriting which is to portray a society and it's people just as they are.

1.4     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

          This research is not mainly a study of scholarly meaning or definition of "playwriting", psychoanalysis" and "characterization ". The scope of this study will be on the playwright and the psychoanalytic impact on characterization and the play in general. Compelling the audience in reading the play to a satisfactory understanding.

1.5     LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

          This study uses the play of Wole Soyinka Death and the King’s Horseman with emphasis on the plot, thought, theme, and characterization

1.6     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

        In view of the necessity to re-emphasize the need for proper research in playwriting for a play to create a story balance, furthermore, this practice has been defended by many psychoanalytic critics on an important grounds: When we psychoanalyze literary characters, we are not suggesting that they are real people but they represent the psychological experience of humans in general.

1.7     RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

          This work will be based extensively on the primary source of information- the play text of Wole Soyinka Death and the King’s Horseman. Secondary sources would include the library, internet materials, published and unpublished scholarly articles.

1.8     ORGANISATION OF THE WORK

          This work will be divided into chapter one to chapter five, providing a background knowledge of the study, it shall contain all preliminary information about the study. Chapter Two shall focus on the review of relevant literature related to the study. Chapter Three shall look at the necessary analysis of the play under study, this analysis shall be examined on the aspects of; historical context, plot summary, thematic concern, characterization, and style. Furthermore, Chapter Four shall provide a psychoanalytic Criticism of the play text. Chapter five will provide a conclusion, and a recommendation containing the relevance of the work.



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