Soyinka Acts 1 and 2 Questions

  1. Was act 1 of the play difficult to follow?  For me, this was difficult to follow because there was a lot going on, but some parts were easier to understand than others.  A lot of lines were written in poetry or whatever and it was a bit hard for me to understand.  “Death came calling,” (Soynika, pg. 11) This quote from the book is the beginning of the first part of the book where the writing starts to become poetic or whatever.  When it comes to the lines of the characters, it was easy for me to follow along with the play, unlike the lines that are poem-like.  Some of those lines were easier to understand than others like Elesin saying that he wants to have a child with a young girl.  That was one of the things in the book that was easier for me to understand.  So, did anyone else have trouble understanding what was going on in Act 1? 
  1. Why is it that Pilkings never really understood the country’s customs and laws?  I noticed in a part of a book, Pilkings was a bit surprised that someone was going to kill himself.  “It is native law and custom.  The King die last month.  Tonight is his burial.  But before they can bury him, the Elesin must die so as to accompany him to heaven.” (Soyinka, pg. 28) This quote from the book is the servant Joeseph explaining the laws and customs of his country to Pilkings and his wife.  This tells me that Pilkings never really took the time to study the laws, customs and whatnot of the country and neither did his wife.  Now why is that?  My guess is that if Pilkings and his wife had taken time to be educated by the natives and interacted with them, they would have understood everything that was happening perfectly.   

All in all, these are two questions I had regarding the reading, and I’d like to see what everyone thought about it and hopefully answer my questions. 

4 thoughts on “Soyinka Acts 1 and 2 Questions

  1. I was, honestly, very confused by act 1. The other acts were much easier to follow, but act 1 really tripped me up. I still don’t completely understand the first part of it when he was going to the market place. I think Pilkings didn’t care to understand the customs and laws of the native people. He doesn’t seem to see them as valid or correct as they are not those of his country. I think he sees them more as a nuisance than a people.

  2. I think Pilkings didn’t know that much about the culture and their traditions because he didn’t really think it mattered all that much. He seems to be there just to bring “order” to their land, so he must think getting more intimate with the people and the society isn’t a part of the deal. He wants to police them, not interact with them.

  3. I always find plays easy to follow but reading “Death And The Kings Horseman” was difficult for me to follow at first considering the time period it was written in. The poem parts were definitely the most difficult to read. I think this was because it switched on and off from a play structure to a poem structure throughout the whole book. If it just stuck with one type of reading structure it might have been easier for us as readers to read and be able to dive deeper in between the lines.

  4. Thank you for asking if anyone else thought that some of the lines and passages were difficult to understand. Yes they were! I think it is the older language and also possibly the cultural gap.

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