Chapter

History Sisters: Femi Osofisan's <i>Tegonni: An African Antigone</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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217182.003.0008

Series: Classical Presences

History Sisters: Femi Osofisan's Tegonni: An African Antigone

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Femi Osofisan's Tegonni: an African Antigone moves beyond a concern with the political and cultural effects of colonialism. Instead, the play deconstructs colonial and other types of authority, including paternal power and the domination of the male, in the service of resistance to neo-colonialism. In place of traditional authorities it foregrounds relationships of spontaneous affection, female agency, and a comic dimension. The self-conscious metatheatricality of the drama serves the same project; Tegonni doubles its heroine between a mythical Greek Antigone and a nineteenth-century Yoruba princess, and thus can address, like Odale's Choice, the issue of a sacrifice that is efficacious but must be repeated. The authority of the Greek Antigone comes to symbolize the tragic inevitability of Africa's damaged history, but is countered both by the comedy in the play, represented most forcefully by the soldiers, and by the tradition of Antigones set in Africa.

Keywords: Femi Osofisan; Tegonni; neo-colonialism; metatheatrical; comedy; paternal power; male domination; authority; resistance; female agency

Chapter.  21060 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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