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Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds$
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Lorna Hardwick and Carol Gillespie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296101.001.0001

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Trojan Women in Yorubaland: Femi Osofisan Women of Owu

Trojan Women in Yorubaland: Femi Osofisan Women of Owu

(p.15) 1 Trojan Women in Yorubaland: Femi Osofisan Women of Owu1
Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds

Felix Budelmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to Women of Owu, a new adaptation of Euripides’s Trojan Women by the Nigerian playwright Femi Osofisan. The play is set outside the burning city, not of Troy, but of Owu in Yorubaland, part of what is now Nigeria. It tells about the sufferings imposed by war. Its main mode is empathy and pity for the victims of war, especially the women. Owu is in ruins, and its former inhabitants are constantly threatened by rape, displacement, slavery, degradation, and death. The chapter first discusses four notable features of the play, all related to the blend of Greek, 19th century Yoruba, and contemporary European/American and, indeed, African elements: its presentation of an aggressive war and its consequences; its emphasis on communality rather than individuality; its treatment of gender; and its form and tone. The chapter also looks at the more abstract audiences constituted by different scholarly disciplines in the context of the interdisciplinary discourse of classics and post-colonial studies.

Keywords:   Femi Osofisan, Women of Owu, theatre, communality, classical literature, post-colonial literature, Yorubaland, gender

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