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The Use of Satire for Social Reformation in African Literature; A Study of Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again and Wole Soyinka’s A Play Of Giants

The Use of Satire for Social Reformation in African Literature; A Study of Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again and Wole Soyinka’s A Play Of Giants 

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The Use of Satire for Social Reformation in African Literature; A Study of Ola Rotimi’s our Husband Has Gone Mad Again and Wole Soyinka’s A Play of Giants” is the topic of this research work. It focuses on how the two writers use Satire to remold the society. The study discusses on the social and political ills prevalent in the African societies with the view of correcting them thus, making the contemporary society a better place to live.

In the two texts from the renowned Nigerian writers we discovered the economics, social and political evils which morally degraded our society and the community at large. These evils are being satirized to bring about reformation. The study brings out the evil inherent in African socio-political system and calls for a change especially in the society  



  • Background to the Study

It is generally conceived by many scholars, that literature mirrors the society. However, literature goes beyond just mirroring the society, it depicts various aspects of human life. The social, political, economical, religious and the historical aspects of human lives are portrayed through literature. Basically, there are three major genres of literature, poetry, prose, and drama. For the sake of this study more emphasis shall be layed on the dramatics generic form of literature and the dramatic information.

Drama represents life in a more distinctive way. It educates entertains, oriented and satirizes. Drama originates from the Greek worship of gods in the classical period as a form of ritual. This research concentrates on the concept of satire used by African playwrights   using Wole Soyinka and Ola Rotimi as case studies) to effect societal reformation.

Satire as the act of using humour or exaggeration to speak against societal ills, has always been related to literature. It is seen directly in literacy works which satirize particular social vices, and is present in all forms of African literature.  G. G. Darah opines that norms and virtues”. This image of the satirist has led some students of the genre to discriminate between satire proper; on the one hand and pseudo satire or Lampoon, on the other hand.

According to this view, a Lampoon is a descriptive portrait that relies on inventive rather than objective and sophisticated analysis. By contrast, it is argued that satire avoid opprobrious terms and achieves its aim through what the eighteen century English satirist, john Drilen, called “ the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body and leaves it standing in its place” (Darah, 2005. PP. 22-23)

Ngugiwa Thiongo has, also noted that satire takes for its province a whole society, and for its purpose, criticism, he stresses further that, the satirist sets himself certain standards and criticizes society when  and where  it departs from this norms. He invites us to assume his standards and share the moral indignation which moves him to pour division and ridicules on society’s failings, he corrects through painful, sometimes, malicious laughers, Wa Thiongo, (1972, P.55).

The Use of Satire for Social Reformation in African Literature; A Study of Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again and Wole Soyinka’s A Play Of Giants

Due to the manner of its emergence against the background of European colonialism, satire has always been present to a significant extent in Nigerian literature. Even during the colonial era, leaders of nationalist and independence movements used literature to satirize the injustice of foreign domination and explanation. Thus, individuals such as Nnamdi Azikwiwe, Dennis Osadebey, and others, used literate expressions couched in satire to advocate essentially ideas. Their themes often centre upon the historical greatness of Nigeria and the way in which colonial rule and debilitated it.

Therefore, satire is employed to mock or censor the actions of man or his belief. It is used to assess the state of man in his society and to create a difference between the present situation and the ideal situation. The best satire is concerned with the nature of reality and unlike other arts which emphasize what appears to be real but is not. It always pretends to be something other than what it really is.

It is a fundamental and basics fact that satire entails more than exposing societal ills and vices. Satire is a literary response to life in the society, its basic cynicism and especially its political nature seen to require an urban culture to spoken and thrives.

 However, this work focuses on the societal ills in Ola Rotimi’s Our husband has gone mad again and Wole Soyinka’s; A play of giants: revealing “Satire” as a tool for correcting those ills prevalent in the society.

  • Statement of the problem

 After the departure of the colonial masters, Africans have faced a lot of problems as a result of foreign culture they left behind corruption, exploitation; class struggle etc has been the order of the day. All these societal ills has hindered growth in the African society.

This socio-political and economic disorder committed playwrights towards restoring order to their communities which have been engulfed in a myriad of ills. The playwrights discovered that this ill prevalent in African could be best eradicated through the application of satire. This really helps to ridicule the activities of people that do not bring growth to the African society.

  • Objectives of the Study

Generally, This study reveals the Use Of Satire For Social Reformation Tool in African Literature through Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband has  Gone Mad Again and Wole Soyinka’s A Play Of Giant.

Specifically, this study is meant to expose the socio-political ills of the contemporary Nigeria society as represented in the two literary work s used for this study. This research work shall also address the imbalances in the society and how the writer view this differences. This study reveals the salient ideas behind these writers’ use of satire as it affects the life of Nigerian citizens.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study adds flavor to the already existing established scholarly opinions that satire as a literary genre has gone along way not only to attack the assumed unutterable ills and vices in human life which are mostly blinded by emotional instinct; but also as no other literary application brought reformation to all it ills and vices in terms of political and economic ways.

This study  help to correct the impression that in as much as man exists as a social being, it intermittently meaning that existence of satire would not only continue to complete with the age of man but would remain firmly abated.

 This essay is also meant to add useful literary contribution and to serve as useful consultation in this field for future researchers.

  • Scope and Delimitation

This works shall focus on the use of satire for social reformation with chose reference to the works of Ola Rotimi (our Husband has Gone Mad Against).

This research shall focus on the analysis and justification of satire in the selected texts to expose the socio-political and economic ills prevalent in Nigeria.

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