The Playwright as a Satirist in Selected Plays of Ola Rotimi

The Playwright as a Satirist in Selected Plays of Ola Rotimi

Satire was a popular genre in Classical times leading to the government, nobles, the Church,
and even the Pope becoming targets of ridicule and criticism without regard to their status or
sanctity. The Greeks and Romans extensively used it as a weapon of attack in their respective
societies as far back as the 7th century B.C to the extent that authorities clamped down
greatly on satirists.
Though regarded as cheap and demeaning in early times, satire is
intended to provide corrective antidotes to vices, mistakes and wrongdoings in the society.
Satire is not new to Africans . Many traditional African performances are used in satirising
and condemning evil within the society. In festivals such as Èdì in Ilé Ifę, Ębìbì among the
Ijebu of Yorubaland in Nigeria, Ocol in Uganda, satire reigns as examples of traditional
African festivals where the genre is active and celebrated. This paper interrogates a selection
of Ola Rotimi's plays including If-The Tragedy of the Ruled, Our Husband has gone Mad
Again and others. The paper highlights the various aspects of the chosen plays as satires depicting the Nigerian nation and people. It then concludes that Ola Rotimi used his plays to
satirise the bad and the ugly within the Nigerian society and that satirising is a valid means of
condemning Nigeria's infelicities.

Keywords: Satire, Ola Rotimi, Nigeria, African traditional festivals, Nigerian society

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