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Death and the King's Horsemen Summary
Wole Soyinka

Everything you need to understand or teach Death and the King's Horsemen by Wole Soyinka.

  • Death and the King's Horsemen Summary & Study Guide
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  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
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Death and the King's Horsemen Summary

Plot Summary

Wole Soyinka’s play, “Death and the King’s Horseman, is based on actual events occurring in British-occupied Nigeria. The play focuses around the duty of Elesin, the King’s Horseman, to commit suicide in the wake of the King’s death the month before. It is the duty of British Colonial District Officer Simon Pilkings to stop him. Cheered and egged on by his friends and fellow Yoruba tribesmen and women, Elesin knows it is his duty to die, so that he can guide the King in the afterlife. Pilkings and the British consider the act barbaric and illegal They consider all life sacred, so they aim to stop him.

Elesin’s last day on Earth is enjoyable, as he marries a young girl for his last earthly pleasure. But, his will to die weakens because of this, and he does not want to die. Pilking’s...

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Death and the King's Horsemen Study Guide

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