Analysis of Sophocles’ Antigone and the Level of its Influence on Femi Osofisan’s Tegonni, An African Antigone

Analysis of Sophocles’ Antigone and the Level of its Influence on Femi Osofisan’s Tegonni, An African Antigone

Tegonni, Femi Osofisan’s Adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone: A Work on the Interface Between Antigone and Tegonni


This paper examines Sophocles’ Antigone to determine the level of its influence on Femi Osofisan’s Tegonni, an African Antigone. The study adopts a comparative analysis of both works at the levels of their themes and styles. From the similarities of Osofisan’s Tegonni to Sophocles’ Antigone, it is clear that Osofisan adapted Antigone to suite the socio-political milieu of his time.

1.0 Introduction

Adaptations of classical drama by writers of African descent are increasingly important because they raise questions about what it means to claim a ‘western’ tradition in the wake of colonialism; and also prove the universality of literature to any society. Such adaptations must struggle with the fact that the very presence of Greek and Roman classics within African culture, however fruitful for creative endeavour, testifies to the disruption of African history.

The concept of adaptation means a lot of things to scholars of different disciplines; however, literary adaptation refers to the idea of borrowing from a subject matter, a genre, literary philosophy or movement, in both theme and style and situating such into another genre, setting or era. The idea behind adaptation goes to prove that literary ideals can be relevant to different societies at any given time. Many a writers have been known to adapt works of other writers from time to time. For instance, Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not to Blame as an adaptation of Sophocle’s Oeudipus Rex, Osofisan’s Another Raft from John Beckederemo Clarke’s The Raft; William Shakespaere’s The Comedy of Errors from Plautus’ The Menaechmi Brothers, etc.

Osofisan has been linked to Marxist writers who see revolution as a powerful tool in transforming society. In his treatment of Tegonni, Osofisan brings to bear on the form of Antigone, his principle of reconstructing history and mythology, using to the fullest the African dramatic mode of song and dance. It takes a measure of ingenuity to transmute a fifth century long Greek myth into the 19th century Nigerian socio-political atmosphere, at the dawn of imperialism. Osofisan has a peculiar conception of form, stylistic innovations and manner of organizing his plays that intrigues the reader. In his words, “I am always experimenting with form. I am discovering forms, some of which are already in use…I pay great attention to form, to manner…these have been my guiding principles in all my works” (the Drama of Osofisan, 5).

As will be seen in the comparative analysis of Tegonni and Antigone, both plays examine the story of two princesses who go out of their way to defile the unjust rulings of tyrant kings. This incidentally is where the similarity with both plays ends. The remainder of the play betrays Osofisan’s ingenious contrivance to satisfy his goal, which is a deliberate configuration of conflicts, occasioned through a clashing of the binary opposites- a cultural interface. While Antigone’s clash with Creon in Sophocles merely lends itself to ethico-religious hermeneutics; in which both characters function within the Athenian divinely ordained cultural and philosophical playing field; for Osofisan in Tegonni, the conflict reveals an underlying fundamentalism: that of racial and cultural supremacy, thus bringing to the fore, the struggle for power between the individual and the state on the one hand and much closer home, considering the time and circumstances of writing, the power struggle between the recalcitrant jackboots and the ‘pro-democracy movements.’ Several arguments have been proffered as Osofisan’s reason for Tegonni; nonetheless, it is obvious that the repressive political atmosphere in Nigeria at the time was foremost on the mind- the crisis precipitated by military dictatorship and of annulled elections (Raji, 143). Under such circumstances, it was apparent that whatever treatment and style to be adopted for such crucial dramaturgy would be one which takes into cognizance the situation of Osofisan’s audience. Indeed there was the need for the audience to be alienated from the actions on stage in order to see the events in a new and more relevant light. Hence the traditional African theatrical mode, which blends with the Brechtian epic theatre, served Osofisan’s purpose as seen in the play.

1.2 Thematic Analysis

Both texts, Antigone and Tegonni explore the oppressive tendencies in leadership. Oppression of subjects by leaders exists in all spheres of human relationship whether at individual, family or societal levels. In Antigone, Creon, the king of Thebes, is seen as a leader who oppresses his subjects by the promulgation of decrees. As an authoritarian leader, he forbids opposition or criticism from any of his subjects. This is the reason why he made a decree that nobody is to mourn or bury any man who opposes him when they die. The consequence of such action is death by stoning. Antigone tells Ismene “…And now what new edict is this of which they tell, that our Captain hath just published to all Thebes? Knowest thou aught? Hast thou heard?… (1) The sons of Oedipus, Eteocles and Polyneices who died at the battle field were the first to be used as examples for others. Eteocles who was loyal to the king was to be given a burial of honour while Polyneices who opposed Creon’s leadership was to be left unburied in the open field for birds to feed on his corpse. Antigone reports this to her sister, Ismene,

What, hath not Creon destined our brothers, the one to honoured burial, the other to unburied shame? Eteocles, they say, with due observance of right and custom, he hath laid in the earth, for his honour among the dead below. But the hapless corpse of Polyneices- as rumour saith, it hath been published to the town that none shall entomb him or mourn, but leave unwept, unsepulchred, a welcome store for the birds, as they espy him, to feast on at will… but whoso disobeys in aught, his doom is death by stoning before all the folk… (2)

The flouting of this decree becomes the basis for the conflict in the story. Antigone refuses to obey such a law, she goes ahead to mourn and bury her brother. She says; … But I will bury him: well for me to die in doing that. I shall rest, a loved one with whom I have loved, sinless in my crime; for I owe a longer allegiance to the dead than to the living: in that world I shall abide forever… (2). Antigone is arrested and sentenced to death by being locked in the cave for her action against the king. In her trial, she willingly accepts responsibility for her actions.

Creon is portrayed as not only oppressive but also an obstinate and arrogant king who is filled with pride. Even when his son, the chorus of the elders and the blind seer pleaded with him to release Antigone of the punishment, he pays a deaf ear to them and even goes ahead to accuse the blind seer of mediating just to make money. He tells the chorus that his pride will not allow him set Antigone free even when the blind prophet laid a curse on him.

Leader of the chorus: The man hath gone, O king, with dread prophecies. And, since the hair on this head, once dark, hath been white, I know that he hath never been a false prophet to our city.

Creon: I, too, know it well, and am troubled in soul. ‘Tis dire to yield; but, by resistance to smite my pride with ruin- this, too, is a dire choice (22).

The king’s oppressive and arrogant nature brings doom to his house hold as he lost his son, his wife and his own life.

Similarly, Osofisan in Tegonni explores the theme of oppression. The governor is seen as an autocratic leader who looks down on his subjects and who is arrogant. Like Creon, he decreed that any man who opposes British authority should not be buried but left outside to be fed by the dogs. The soldier tells the women this.
3rd Sol: Yes of Course! Na de thing I been dey tell you! This morning, Gomina ask us to bring de body and leave am there, unburied.

2nd Sol: And right for de centre of town too!

Isokun: This cannot be. You must have misunderstood him. We do not leave dead bodies unburied in the sun, it’s an abomination! (48)

The character of Capt. Allan Jones contrasts with that of the tyranic governor. Kunbi says,
But this time, for the first time, this white man on the hill, abandoned his guns and boots, came blushing all over, got himself a go-between as is proper, and declared his love for our playmate! Can you imagine! We are used to the whips of the white men, not their kisses… (46)

Like Antigone, Tegonni flouts the governor’s decree by burying her brother who opposed British authority. The Governor had made similar decree that anyone who opposed his authority should not be given burial rites in death. Prince Oyekunle dies opposing British rule and his body is left in the town centre for all to see.

Antigone: Yes. The body of the Oke-Osun prince who revolted. Prince Oyekunle.
3rd Sol: Yes, I remember now. Tegonni’s brother, the one who was dispossessed. Just like in our story (28).

Tegonni is arrested and takes responsibility for her actions. The governor’s adopted son, the elders and all others who pleaded for her release prove abortive. Even Jones, the governor’s adopted son accused him of being a murderer.

Jones: A killer! That’s what you are, General! A heartless and—
Gov: stop! Don’t you dare!
Jones: Murderer! I will shout it to all the–!
Gov: shut up I say! Shut it, you traitor, or I’ll– (121)

This clearly shows that even the other whites do not support the governor’s oppressive regime.

In Antigone, gender issue is another thematic concern. Everyone is afraid of the king and his tyrannic leadership, only Antigone is able to oppose him without bordering about the consequences. Ismene tells Antigone.

… And now we in turn- we two left all alone think how we shall perish, more miserably than all the rest, if, in defiance of the law, we brave a king’s decree or his powers. Nay, we must remember, first, that we were born women, as who should not strive with men; next, that we are ruled of the stronger, so that we must obey in these things and in things yet sorer. I, therefore, asking the spirits infernal to pardon, seeing that force is put on me herein, will hearken to our rulers… (2)

But Antigone is not dissuaded by the punishment of death. She goes ahead to bury her brother and tells the king that his decree is not from the gods but merely a man-made injustice.

Creon: And thou didst indeed dare to transgress that law?

Antigone: Yes; for it was not Zeus that had published me that edict; not such are the laws set among men by justice who dwells with the gods below; nor deemed I that thy decrees were of such force, that a mortal could override the unwritten and unfailing statutes of heaven…(9).

This angers the king and he sentences Antigone to death. More so, because Antigone happens to be a female who opposes a male. Creon tells her, “Pass, then, to the world of the dead, and, if thou must needs love, love them. While I live, no woman shall rule me” (11). Antigone embodies a great opposition to tranny. She speaks her mind and does not allow even the king to intimidate her.

Antigone: wouldst thout do more than take and slay me?
Creon: No more, indeed; having that, I have all.

Antigone: why then dost thou delay? In thy discourse there is nought that pleases me, – never may there be! … All here would own that they thought it well, were not their lips sealed by fear. But royalty, blest in so much besides, hath the power to do and say what it will (10).

Antigone is strong willed and even though she paid the ultimate price for this, she is a role model to anyone who believes in fighting against injustice. This is why Osofisan exhumes her character in Tegonni to be a symbol of strength for the self-willed women who stood against the tyranny of the governor.

There is a similar issue of gender in Tegonni. The women, spearheaded by Tegonni, represent the symbol of strength and opposition against oppression. Tegonni does not fear for her life even when she is confronted by the Governor. The other women surround Tegonni and Allan to form a human shield against the attack of the Governor.

Gov: (shouting) Catch the woman! Disperse the assembly! Guards!
Women: (surrounding Tegonni and Allan) No! You won’t touch them!


Catch her, I say! (He is falling, clutching his heart. Some soldiers hold him.)
No more execution! Let her be sold instead, to slavery down the coast. Just like
her ancestors! Soldiers! (138).

Osofisan’s women are indeed a symbol of opposition against oppression. Some of them died defending their course. The director tells us;

The soldiers try to force their way forward. JONES, running forward to intervene, is shot… meanwhile, incensed, KUMBI gives a signal and, in response, the remaining women drop their dresses baring their chest, all smeared with ashes: linking hands, they begin to sway, chanting wildly:

Women: it can’t happen! No it won’t… (183-139)

The women stand as resistance against tyranny and like the women of Owu (also written by Osofisan) they bring a change to their community. Also, Tegonni takes up the job meant for a man and astounds everyone by becoming the best in the profession.

Yemisi: stop quibbling baba, it’s not in your character! Tegonni has always been different, and you’ve loved her for it! You alone, remember, stood by her, when she returned from the palace in Ife, and announced she wanted to be a bronze caster and a sculptor. The whole town said Eewo! No woman has ever joined that profession, least of all a princess!… (2).

With Tegonni, it is indeed a case of what a man can do, a woman can do even better. She stands out in her community as an accomplished sculptor in bronze casting. The old man, Isokun testifies to this.
Isokun: Alake! Daughter of Alarape, the yeye Alaro of Ijaye garrison! Caster of Bronze a trade formerly unknown to women, till you came along and proved your worth, Tegonni, my daughter, and you others! You are a feast to the eyes!
In another instance, we hear Faderera say that: “thanks to which you’ve not only grown to be one of the best in the profession, but you’ve also helped train other women, so that we now have our own women’s guild of carvers & casters” (78). Osofisan’s women are always significant and often play symbolic roles of helping to reshape the negative face of their community.

In both themes of oppression and gender issue, Antigone and Tegonni draw similarities; however, Osofisan goes further to address racial prejudice in Tegonni to suite the dictates of his time when colonialism hold sway. One notices the under tone in the directors voice as well as those of other characters in the play who frown at the prejudice against their skin colour. In his introductory note to the play, Osofisan stated clearly the racial intent of the play.

European adventurers seized control over most of suburban Africa, subjugated the local rulers, and established new forms of government in the name of “Civilizing” the “Dark continent”.… Using the well—known format of Sophocles’ Antigone, I have constructed a play that re-examines the issue of race relations and personal courage… (11)

This clearly points to the fact that the decolonization of Africa is the reason behind the adaptation of Antigone in Tegonni. In several scenes of the story, Osofisan vents his anger against racial injustice by the whites. The old man criticizes Tegonni for chosen to marry a white man and refuses to appear in the marriage ceremony as dictated by the custom.

Kinbi: Please, baba. You have to be there to receive us. With the king gone to the ancestors, and no regent on the throne, thanks to the white men who now rule us, you are the only elder from her family that we can count upon to speak at her father’s graveside in there. Tegonni must have your blessings on the way to her husband’s house.

Isokun: Husband! She’s making a grave error and you know it! Why can’t she find someone among us, among her own people? (20)

Some of the characters see Tegonni’s marriage to the white man as a betrayal to their people. Faderera says that marrying the white man is “a lucky break for a rejected woman” (20)

The governor is portrayed as a hater of the black skin. His actions and words show that he does not regard the black people as human beings; they are rather a means to an end- the building of a vast British empire. He calls them derogatory names.

Gov: Oh no, course not! You know we’re just there to give the orders; it’s the niggers who do the fighting. And a fierce lot they are too, after we train them, especially these ones from Fanti… (60)

In another instance, he speaks of the industrious nature of the blacks thus; “Good! You should see them in battle, my boy! All we do is just sit in the bloody hammocks and drink whisky! …” (61). In this same scene, Bayo (the pastor) tries to shake hands with the Governor to welcome him home but he ignores him. And when Jones introduces him as the reverend, the governor says; “I remember him of course. Escaped from slavery in Georgia, didn’t he, and came here to start the church.… He and his kind can’t wait to see our back! Now they believe they know better than us how to run the place (61). The height of his disgust for the blacks is seen when the marriage procession starts to sing a gospel song in Yoruba to welcome the Governor, the Governor wastes no time in putting a stop to their singing and he says;

Gov: welcome me-with that! Rather audacious, isn’t it! This is what they call Christianity, these liberated priests who come over to Africa! They bring the word of God to the jungle, and what happens! Satan takes over! Everything changes to voodoo! Our sacred hymns are turned to dark incantations! And I am supposed to like that! I am supposed to tolerate it as “The expression of another culture” while the Devil crows triumphant in my ear! (64).

Osofisan tries to address this racial prejudice by using the character of Tegonni and Jones to oppose the governor and all he stands for. Thus, Antigone and Tegonni share similarities in their thematic preoccupations.

1.3 Styles

In style, the plots of both stories are similar. Antigone and Tegonni revolve around autocratic leaders who rule their subjects with draconian decrees. In Antigone, Creon the king of Thebes is considered the villain while the Governor in Tegonni is the tyrant. They both decreed that those who opposed their authority should not be buried when they die to serve as scape goats to others. Polyneices who is a prince in Antigone opposes Creon and is left in the open field for birds to prey on his corpse. Similarly, Prince Oyekunle who opposes British rule is left in the open field unburied to serve as deterrant to others. Antigone and Tegonni bury their deceased brothers respectively and this becomes the basis for the crisis in the plots of both plays. More so, in both plots, the heroines die believing in their struggle against tyranny. However, unlike in Antigone where the heroine dies in clear terms, we are not told if Tegoni who is shot and falls dies at last. Also, the plot of Antigone ends with the Chorus interpreting the play to the audience, however, in Tegonni, the play ends with the shooting and falling down of Tegonni and some of her women supporters.

Osofisan’s Tegonni assumes a complex plot as we find more characters and the presence of Antigone, herself in the story. Thus, this creates a play-within-the play dramatic effect as he contrasts the character of Tegonni with that of Antigone. The fatalistic vision of life of the Greeks is in sharp contrast here to Osofisan’s revolutionist ideology as we see in the discussion between Tegonni, Antigone and other characters.

Kunbi: who are you?

Antigone: my name is Antigone. These are my friends and bodyguards.… It’s a very long way, through the channels of history. The road at many points is unsafe…I heard you were acting my story. And I was so excited I decided to come and participate.

Yemisi: your story! Sorry, you’re mistaken. This is the story of Tegonni, our sister. Funny, the names sound almost the same, but- (25).

The above clearly showed that Osofisan created the character name of ‘Tegonni’ from ‘Antigone.’ In characterization therefore, both Antigone and Tegonni perform similar role of defying an oppressive authority. However, we see Tegonni more as a revolutionist than just one who merely disobeys the authority. Osofisan creates a point of convergence for both heroines but promotes his revolutionist view through Tegonni to show their distinction. Her revolutionist stance is portrayed thus; Tegonni: I want to live! Of course I want to go on living! But if the cost of that will mean the death of our people, then I am willing to die (106). Tegonni tells Antigone that unlike her, she believes in freedom. She sees freedom as a reality and not a myth. This happens when Antigone tries to convince her to give in to her oppressor’s demand.

Antigone: I told you I’ve learnt from history! Go and look down the ages, my dear. Human beings throw off their yokes, only for themselves to turn into oppressors. They struggle valiantly for freedom, and in the process acquire the terrible knowledge of how to deny it to others.

Tegonni: Go back to legend or wherever you’ve come from. You ARE contaminated, I believe you. Leave my story, you and I, we have nothing to share. You say freedom is a myth. But where do you think we’d be without such myths? Will our humanity not lose all its meaning?

Antigone: So you still believe then, Tegonni… in spite of what you’re going to do?

Tegonni: Of course I believe! And I’ll never stop believing! Freedom is an undying faith, the force which underwrites our presence here on earth, as human beings. When we lose that faith, we die. (127)
One begins to wonder if indeed the Antigone which Tegonni is modeled against is indeed the same character who opposes the tyranic Creon. Since Antigone died believing in her course, the contrast in characterization becomes a problem since they are both resolved in their beliefs. To settle this point, Osofisan brings a point of convergence for the two heroines.

Antigone: (Jubilant)- come, my sister, embrace me! I was testing you. And now I find you’re a true believer, like me! Yes, it is true that many tyrants have marched through history. That for a while, people have been deprived of their freedom. But oppression can never last. Again and again it will be overthrown, and people will reclaim their right to be free! That is the lesson of history, the only one worth learning!

Tegonni: my sister! You’re my sister Antigone! (127).

Thus in characterization, we find a lot of similarities between Antigone and Tegonni as plays of adaptation. Creon the tyrant of Antigone is the oppressive Governor in Tegonni. Antigone the woman who opposes Creon is Tegonni who opposes the governor; the chorus of Thebes is similar to the elders of Oke-Osun, Allan in Tegonni is similar to Haemon in Antigone as they both play the role of sons to the tyrants although Allan is the Governor’s adopted son while Haemon is Creon’s biological son. Osofisan introduces other characters which prolongs the story-line to suit his purpose and that adaptation is not 100% the same. In the discussion between Antigone and other characters, Osofisan notes this point.

Kunbi: the same Antigone we’ve heard about?
Antigone: there’s only one Antigone.
Kunbi: but that’s impossible. She’s from Greek mythologies.
Faderera: an impostor! Let’s go.
Antigone: Antigone belongs to several incarnations.

Antigone’s Crew: we’re metaphors. We always come in the colour and the shape of your imagination (26-27).

The guards in Antigone are similar to the soldiers in Tegonni. More so, Allan, the adopted son of the Governor is going to marry Tegonni, the law breaker. This is similar to Haemon, the king’s son who wants to marry Antigone, the law breaker. Also, in characterization, Haemon, Creon’s son killed himself after learning of Antigone’s death. Allan Jones, the Governor’s adopted son in Tegonni, on the other hand, was shot down by Carter-Ross’ guards. There are more characters in Osofisan’s Tegonni in contrast to Sophocles’ Antigone.

Songs and Dance: both playwrights adopt this device as used by the chorus of elders in Antigone and the women in Tegonni, to help elucidate the play. Songs and dance can be seen virtually in every scene of both plays as they provide aesthetics to both plays and also help in their interpretations.

Use of flashback: the audience is made to see the atmosphere of traditional African moonlight folklore where everyone is a participant. There is nothing of the remoteness of action which one finds in Sophocles, where a major part of the action is narrated to audience by the Chorus or Messanger. The unique style of introducing Antigone, a relic of Greek history and myth from the past, through the flashback device, further enhances the flow of the play. Antigone (coming forward) Greetings. Has the play started?… My name is Antigone…it is very long way, through the channels of history…(25).

Dramatic Irony: the audience hears for the first time the prospect of Tegonni’s death from Antigone; but it is a dramatic irony, at once as it is anti-climatic, that the heroine is preparing for her wedding and her death at the same time.

Antigone: Tegonni! Where’s she?

Yemisi: Back in the compound there. Preparing for her wedding.

Antigone: And for her death? (26)

This treatment is uniquely to Osofisan, where there is a heightening of the tragic note and combining it with the festive.

Epic Theatre: the story-telling device is yet another of Osofisan’s attempt to indigenize the story of Antigone. The view is held that the playwright aims at achieving what Brecht terms the alienation effect in epic theatre (211). As shown in scene 17, the story of the tiger and the frog- which aptly fits the major theme of Tegonni- apparently elicits audience participation in both plot and dramatic action. Tegonni who becomes the spirit of stories, and agrees to retell it, does it in such a way as to create in the minds of both her listeners and the audience a ‘second thought,’ to recreate meaning as it were, in line with the on-going play. This is an effective technique which Osofisan makes use of in most of his plays.

Language: In Tegonni, Osofisan makes use of a language that is basically simple and easy to comprehend; it is made up of every day vocabulary and syntax, among others. We find the use of Yoruba, Pidgin English, and Standard English. Yet his language is functional as it separates the different class of his characterization thus the audience is able to tune in to particular scene its distinctive diction. The soldiers in scene 5 and 20, for instance, speak the popular pidgin English: 3rd Sol: shorrop your mouth! I blame you at all? Shut your mouth! It’s not your fault…because the war don finish, not so? The soldiers carry on conversations on mundane issues, everyday life issues that bother individuals in their class. But there is the ruling class characters who make use of the elevated standard, formal English. However, in Antigone, we do not see this distinction of language use in the characters. Every one speaks in similar fashion except for the gods and religious personages who use elevated style, marked by use of idioms, proverbs and imageries.

Use of metaphor: Osofisan reveals Sophocles’ Antigone for what it is- a metaphor. Thus she represents the struggle over the ages against tyranny. And this theme is quite aptly woven into the plot of Tegonni: “we are metaphors. We always come in the colour and shape of your imagination” (27). The playwright here combines metaphor with symbolism; ‘colour and shape’ per se, it rests on the audience to bring meaning to bear, via its own interpretation of respective myths. However, in this instance, the audience may see Tegonni purely in terms of the struggle against the tyrannical forces of the black military jackboots, who replaced the racial bigot, Carter-Ross of the British colonial office and his men.

Allusion: both plays make use of this device for aesthetic effects. In Antigone, there are a lot of allusions to King Oedipus while in Tegonni, there are allusions to king Oedipus and Ozymandias, the king of kings, who is also a tyrant (127-128).

Setting: the setting of the play Antigone is in the early Greek city of Thebes in the 5th century while in Tegonni, the story is set in Nigeria, Yoruba land especially in Oke-Osun where the actions take place. The story is set in time to the colonialist era when Nigeria is still under British rule.

Symbolic Title: Osofisan adopts a title that clearly points to the fact that his Tegonni is his own African rendition of the Greek mythical heroine of Antigone. The title clearly points to the idea that Osofisan has adapted the Greek version of Antigone to suite his socio-political African milieu. This makes the readers to expect similitude in the character and actions of Tegonni with those of Antigone.

1.4 Conclusion

From the foregoing, it is apparent that Osofisan’s ingenious dramaturgy has not just Africanized the Greek myth, but has opened up a whole vista for this once ‘closed’ plot. In reconstructing the history and myth of Antigone in Tegonni, he has stretched its hermeneutical possibilities to the 20th century Nigerian/African environment. Particularly, it is against the twin background of racism and authoritarianism that the dramatist wants us to access Carter Ross’s stance in the crisis in the play. He exhibits all the demeanor of a tyrant, all that matters to him is her majesty’s authority, and all he believes in are instruments of force, of coercion (147). The fate of Oyekunle is instructive of that of a people struggling to determine their own affairs. He was the people’s choice, but when this was annulled with impunity, Oyekunle took a decision to fight the injustice. Through the demystification technique, Osofisan has shown that, we do not need religious or extra-human explanation for our problems; rather with the use of the Bretchian aesthetic technique of demystifying the gods, he is saying that human destiny is man’s own responsibility. Osofisan’s dramatic hermeneutics further assumes a universal perspective in the story of Tegonni, and establishes a cultural interface between the European/ancient Greece and the African continent. There is an urgent need to understand our alienation. Alienation, in this view, especially its positive aspect, is the generative principle of culture, the condition of human development. This would mean that cultures maintain their dynamism, while benefiting from the transforming values of contact with other civilizations and the consequent attainment of the much desired African regional integration.


Primary Sources:

Femi, Osofisan. Tegonni: an African Antigone. Ibadan: Center Stage-Africa, 1999. Print. Sophocles. Antigone. Web.

Critical Texts:

Awodiya, M. P. The Drama of Femi Osofisan: A Critical Perspective.

Ibadan: Kraft Books. 1995. Print.

Burke, A. From Aeschylus’ Oresteia to Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra: Text, Adaptation and Performance.

The Open University. UK. 2006. Print.

Coco, Ferguson. The Tragic Worlds of Sophocles and Soyinka.

New Voices in Classical Reception Studies, Issue 2. 2007. Print.

Hardwick, L. Decolonizing the Classics. In Macintosh, Hall and Wrigley. 2004, 219-42. Print.

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