Back to the Motherland: Ola Rotimi's <i>The Gods Are Not To Blame</i>

Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson

in Crossroads in the Black Aegean

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199217182
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712388 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Back to the Motherland: Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not To Blame

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This chapter reads Ola Rotimi's The Gods are Not to Blame as an allegory of colonization and decolonization and revises the established reading of the play as a representation of the Nigerian Civil War. The protagonist's patricide is understood as the slaying of the colonial father at the moment of independence, and the ensuing incest is the intimate embrace between the hero of national liberation and what the despatched colonizer leaves behind, namely his culture. This relationship is incestuous because the liberating hero is already a partial product of colonial culture. Political decolonization is thus staged as the easy part, while cultural decolonization is dramatized as impossible because the incestuous embrace produces issue. This issue is not only the children in the play but also the play itself. As such, the play is a product of an indigenous and a colonial culture. Ethnic aggression, as both colonization and civil war, is thus characterised as fighting oneself.

Keywords: decolonization; incest; patricide; independence; national liberation; Ola Rotimi; The Gods Are Not to Blame

Chapter.  26917 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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