The Chattering and the Song: A Critique of Monarchical Tyranny in Postcolonial Nigeria
The Chattering and the Song pdf: A Revolutionary Play by Femi Osofisan
If you are looking for a captivating and thought-provoking play that explores the issues of tyranny, resistance, history, and memory in postcolonial Nigeria, you should check out The Chattering and the Song by Femi Osofisan. This play, published in 1977, is one of Osofisan's earliest works and a classic example of his revolutionary drama that challenges the oppressive status quo and calls for social change.
The Chattering And The Song Pdf
In this article, I will provide an overview of The Chattering and the Song, its plot, characters, themes, symbols, style, structure, reception, and impact. I will also show you how you can download or read the play online for free. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why this play is considered one of Osofisan's masterpieces and one of the most important plays in Nigerian literature.
But before I dive into the analysis of The Chattering and the Song, let me introduce you to its author, Femi Osofisan.
Who is Femi Osofisan?
Femi Osofisan is a Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist, critic, teacher, and activist. He was born in 1946 in Erunwon village near Ijebu-Ode in southwestern Nigeria. He studied at Ibadan University where he obtained his BA in French in 1969 and his PhD in Drama in 1976. He has taught at various universities in Nigeria and abroad, including Ibadan University where he is currently a professor emeritus.
Osofisan is widely regarded as one of Nigeria's most prolific and influential dramatists and the leader of the second generation of Nigerian playwrights. He has written over 50 plays, many of which have been performed on stage and adapted for radio, television, and film. He has also published several collections of poetry, novels, essays, and criticism. He has won numerous awards and honors for his literary achievements, including the Nigerian National Order of Merit in 2004.
Osofisan's plays are characterized by their revolutionary outlook, their critique of social injustice and corruption, their celebration of popular resistance and liberation, their experimentation with form and language, and their adaptation of historical and mythological sources. Some of his most famous plays include Once Upon Four Robbers, Morountodun, Women of Owu, Tegonni, Yungba-Yungba and the Dance Contest, and of course, The Chattering and the Song.
The Plot and the Characters of The Chattering and the Song
The Chattering and the Song is a three-act play that tells the story of King Adetusa, a tyrannical ruler who oppresses his people and exploits their resources. He is opposed by a group of rebels led by Oyinbo, a former palace guard who has escaped from the king's dungeon. The rebels use songs and masks to mock the king and to mobilize the people against him. The play culminates in a violent confrontation between the king and the rebels, resulting in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic.
The play has a large cast of characters, but the main ones are:
King Adetusa: The antagonist of the play. He is a cruel and greedy ruler who cares only about his own power and wealth. He is paranoid and ruthless, killing anyone who dares to challenge or criticize him. He is also superstitious and fearful, relying on his priests and diviners to protect him from evil forces.
Oyinbo: The protagonist of the play. He is a brave and charismatic rebel leader who escapes from the king's prison after being tortured for singing a song that mocks the king. He organizes a band of rebels who use songs and masks to expose the king's crimes and to inspire the people to revolt. He is also in love with Aduke, the king's daughter.
Aduke: The king's daughter and Oyinbo's lover. She is a beautiful and intelligent princess who sympathizes with the rebels and helps them in their cause. She is also courageous and defiant, standing up to her father and rejecting his plans to marry her off to a wealthy prince.
Baba Ode: The king's chief priest and adviser. He is a cunning and manipulative man who pretends to be loyal to the king but secretly plots against him. He uses his knowledge of divination and magic to deceive the king and to aid the rebels. He is also Oyinbo's father.
Lamidi: The king's son and heir. He is a spoiled and arrogant prince who enjoys the privileges of royalty but does not care about his people or his country. He is also cowardly and incompetent, fleeing from battle when confronted by the rebels.
Other characters: The play also features other characters such as other rebels, palace guards, courtiers, priests, diviners, singers, dancers, drummers, masqueraders, peasants, traders, hunters, soldiers, etc.
The Themes and the Symbols of The Chattering and the Song
The Chattering and the Song explores several themes that are relevant to Nigeria's postcolonial situation in the 1970s. Some of these themes are:
Monarchical monstrosity and oppression
The play portrays King Adetusa as a monstrous ruler who abuses his power and oppresses his people. He represents the colonial legacy of authoritarianism and exploitation that continued to plague Nigeria after independence. He also symbolizes the corrupt and inept military regimes that ruled Nigeria during most of its postcolonial history. The play exposes the evils of monarchical rule and calls for its abolition.
Popular revolt and liberation
History and memory
The play uses history and memory as sources of inspiration and empowerment for the oppressed. It draws on historical events and figures from Nigeria's past, such as the Egba Women's War of 1929, the Aba Women's Riot of 1929, and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a prominent activist and feminist. It also invokes the memory of the ancient Oyo Empire, a powerful and prosperous kingdom that collapsed due to internal strife and external invasion. The play suggests that history and memory can provide lessons and models for the present and the future.
The chattering and the song
The chattering and the song are the main symbols of the play. They represent the two modes of expression and resistance that the rebels use against the king. The chattering refers to the witty and sarcastic dialogue that the rebels use to mock and expose the king's folly and wickedness. The song refers to the musical and poetic performance that the rebels use to inspire and mobilize the people to revolt. The chattering and the song also symbolize the contrast between the king's silence and fear and the rebels' voice and courage.
The mask and the crown
The mask and the crown are another pair of symbols in the play. They represent the two forms of identity and power that the king and the rebels embody. The mask refers to the disguise that the rebels wear to conceal their identity and to protect themselves from the king's wrath. The mask also allows them to assume different roles and personas, such as masqueraders, diviners, hunters, etc. The mask also symbolizes the diversity and creativity of Nigerian culture. The crown refers to the symbol of authority and legitimacy that the king wears to assert his rule over his subjects. The crown also signifies his arrogance and pride, as he claims to be a descendant of Oduduwa, the mythical founder of Yoruba civilization. The crown also symbolizes the decadence and corruption of Nigerian politics.
The Style and the Structure of The Chattering and the Song
The Chattering and the Song is a remarkable play in terms of its style and structure. Osofisan uses various techniques to create a lively, engaging, humorous, ironic, satirical, and dramatic effect. Some of these techniques are:
Osofisan uses a mixture of English, Yoruba, Pidgin English, French, Latin, etc., to reflect the linguistic diversity and complexity of Nigeria. He also uses different registers and tones, such as formal, informal, poetic, colloquial, etc., to suit different characters and situations. He also plays with words, puns, rhymes, alliterations, etc., to create humor and irony.
Osofisan uses dialogue as a powerful tool to convey his message and to develop his characters. He makes his dialogue realistic, witty, sharp, sarcastic, provocative, etc., to capture the attention and interest of his audience. He also uses dialogue to create conflict, tension, suspense, etc., to advance his plot.
the king's flaws and faults. He also uses humor to entertain and enlighten his audience, to make them laugh and think at the same time.
Osofisan uses irony as a device to create contrast and contradiction between appearance and reality, expectation and outcome, words and actions, etc. He uses irony to reveal the hypocrisy and deception of the king and his allies, as well as the courage and wisdom of the rebels and their supporters. He also uses irony to create surprise and shock for his audience, to make them question and challenge their assumptions and beliefs.
Osofisan uses satire as a genre to criticize and condemn the social and political problems of Nigeria. He uses satire to expose the corruption, oppression, injustice, violence, etc., that plague his country. He also uses satire to propose solutions and alternatives, such as democracy, equality, justice, peace, etc., that he hopes for his country.
Osofisan organizes his play into three acts, each with a different setting and tone. The first act is set in the king's palace, where the king's tyranny and oppression are shown. The second act is set in the forest, where the rebels' resistance and liberation are shown. The third act is set in the town square, where the final confrontation and resolution are shown. The structure of the play reflects the progression of the plot and the development of the themes.
The Reception and the Impact of The Chattering and the Song
The Chattering and the Song has received positive reviews and acclaim from critics and audiences since its publication in 1977. It has been praised for its originality, creativity, relevance, message, style, humor, etc. It has also been performed on stage several times in Nigeria and abroad, attracting large and enthusiastic crowds. It has also been adapted for radio and television.
The Chattering and the Song has also had a significant impact on Nigerian literature and drama. It has influenced other Nigerian playwrights who have followed Osofisan's example of using history, myth, culture, humor, irony, satire, etc., to critique social and political issues. It has also contributed to the development of revolutionary drama as a genre that challenges oppression and advocates change.
style, and structure to convey its message. It also uses humor, irony, satire, and dialogue to create a lively, engaging, and dramatic effect. It has received positive reception and acclaim from critics and audiences, and has had a significant impact on Nigerian literature and drama. It is a play that deserves to be read and appreciated by anyone interested in Nigerian history, culture, politics, and art.
If you want to download or read The Chattering and the Song online for free, you can visit the following link: https://archive.org/details/chatteringsong00osof. You can also learn more about Osofisan's works and biography by visiting his official website: http://femiosofisan.com/.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!
Here are some frequently asked questions about The Chattering and the Song and Osofisan:
When was The Chattering and the Song first published?
The play was first published in 1977 by Ibadan University Press.
What is the genre of The Chattering and the Song?
The play is a satire that belongs to the genre of revolutionary drama.
What is the main message of The Chattering and the Song?
The main message of the play is to challenge monarchical tyranny and to advocate popular resistance in postcolonial Nigeria.
Who are some of the historical and mythological figures that Osofisan references in The Chattering and the Song?
Some of the historical and mythological figures that Osofisan references in the play are Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a prominent activist and feminist; the Egba Women's War of 1929 and the Aba Women's Riot of 1929, two major anti-colonial protests led by women; Oduduwa, the mythical founder of Yoruba civilization; and the Oyo Empire, a powerful and prosperous kingdom that collapsed due to internal strife and external invasion.
What are some of the other works by Osofisan that are similar to The Chattering and the Song?
Some of the other works by Osofisan that are similar to The Chattering and the Song are Once Upon Four Robbers, Morountodun, Women of Owu, Tegonni, Yungba-Yungba and the Dance Contest, etc.