Wole Soyinka's Yoruba Tragedy
This chapter discusses Wole Soyinka's The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite, It explores, first of all, how Soyinka draws on Yoruba mythology and cosmology to emphasise the revolutionary potential of ritual sacrifice. Then, the focus shifts to the politics that the adaptation performs through its ambiguous relation with the Euripedean pre‐text, a relation that is characterised by a dual emphasis on correspondence and difference. In the final part, the cultural politics at play in Soyinka's refiguration of Dionysus and in his theory of ‘Yoruba tragedy’ is considered in relation to Martin Bernal's Black Athena project. The primary intention is to demonstrate how Soyinka does with ‘tragedy’ what Bernal does with ‘Greece’: challenging its conventional definition and destabilising the Eurocentrism that has traditionally inhibited it.
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