Death and the King's Horsemen Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Explain and identify the background of Soyinka's story.

Soyinka's story is inspired by the ancient city of Oyo, as explained in the author's note. Oyo was an ancient Yoruban city in Nigeria in 1946. It was this group's customs and practices that influenced Soyinka's writing of "Death and the King's Horseman".

2. Why does Soyinka claim (in the author's note) that the play is not a clash between two cultures (Yoruban and British)?

Soyinka states that the play depicts a confrontation of two cultures rather than a clash. Soyinka claims that in order for there to truly be a clash between cultures there must also be a degree of equality among those cultures. He [Soyinka] makes it known that he in no way believes that colonial British culture is in any way equal to that of the Yoruban's of Nigeria.

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