An Exploration into the Satiric Significance of Abuse in Selected Nigerian Drama
Keywords:Dramaturgy of abuse, satire, humour, Nigerian drama
AbstractA general survey of the contemporary Nigerian theatre and drama reveals that several contemporary Nigerian dramatists have harnessed the art of abuse—invectives— as a device for conveying meanings in their works and achieving their satiric goals. These dramatists create characters that engage abuse to articulate the thematic concerns of their drama, accentuate the conflicts in them, and establish the socio-cultural and political setting of their drama. Although extant works on satiric plays have focused on the use of language, and other satiric devices such as grotesque, irony, burlesque, innuendo, sarcasm, among others (Adeoti 1994; Adenigbo & Alugbin 2020; Mireku-Gyimah 2013; Nyamekye & Debrah 2016), sufficient scholarly attention has not been given to the art of abuse as a trope in Nigerian drama. The article explores the artistic significance of abuse and its forms in selected works of two contemporary Nigerian dramatists: Femi Osofisan’s Altine’s Wrath (2002) and Ola Rotimi’s Who is a Patriot? (2006). These two plays are selected because they manifest ample deployment of the art of abuse and engage various sociopolitical issues. Hence, the article discusses how the art of abuse in these plays projects and addresses such sociopolitical realities as oppression, exploitation, resistance, self-interest versus national interest, and capitalism, among others. The article engages the principles of superiority theory of humour as espoused by Henri Bergson (2003) for textual analysis. It contends and concludes that abuse, as an inherent part of social and human interactions, has been an effective tool in satirising ills in individuals and society at large.
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