Death and the King’s Horseman: A Play

Death and the King’s Horseman: A Play

Based on events that took place in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria, in 1946, Wole Soyinka’s powerful play concerns the intertwined lives of Elesin Oba, the king’s chief horseman; his son, Olunde, now studying medicine in England; and Simon Pilkings, the colonial district officer. The king has died and Elesin, his chief horseman, is expected by law and custom to commit suicide and accompany his ruler to heaven. The stage is set for a dramatic climax when Pilkings learns of the ritual and decides to intervene and Elesin’s son arrives home.

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