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Wole Soyinka "The Swamp Dwellers"

The story that I would recommend to be read by my friend is Wole Soyinka’s The Swamp Dwellers. Although written a long time ago, the play is relevant up to now as it captures social and cultural issues that families and members of the society experience. The Swamp Dwellers by Wole Soyinka gives a vivid description of life and culture of African society. It is important to state that the play goes beyond the borders and is applicable to the society in general.  The play is appropriate for expanding the readers’ knowledge and deals with a plethora of tense situations in different spheres of the society.

 The Swamp Dwellers is a literary text with a universal appeal. The plot of the story is simple and chronological, so the readers can easily comprehend what the author describes. The play, although written several decades ago, is still relevant to the contemporary society. The play is a vivid depiction of powerful family bonds that also characterize human relationships in modern society. I find the play not only interesting, but also very educative especially after becoming familiar with various characters in the play. It highlights and juxtaposes life of rural and urban society. There are confrontations and conflicts between the characters in the family, as well as a contrast in points of views between the old and the new society. One aspect that is appropriately delineated by the author is the way the playwright exposes the conflicts between the old and young generation. Soyinka is good at capturing themes that are not frequently covered by other writers. He lays a lot of emphasis on family ties, love for the family as well as how to amicably solve conflicts in a family set-up,

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Wole Soyinka suggests in the play The Swamp Dwellers that conflicts in any relationship are inevitable. It requires patience and tolerance of the couples in order to solve conflicts that emanate from the family. The playwright, therefore, proposes that dialogue is the best way of solving conflicts within the family.

Wole Soyinka uses a number of characters to advance and reinforce his themes. He juxtaposes the twins Auchike and Ingwezu as well as Makuri and Alu, who are always at loggerheads. The underlying message in their confrontation is the deep love and affection they have for each other.  What the author, therefore, conveys is that despite the acrimony that might occasionally come in between family members, love and care for each other should never be compromised.

The play The Swamp Dwellers has therefore compelling lessons for people in contemporary society.  Love and care for each other should characterize human relationships. Soyinka,for that reason, suggests that the only way to conquer obstacles in a family setting is to embrace each other and tolerate each other’s weaknesses. The issue of the social, cultural tension and family relationships that Soyinka describes in the post-colonial Nigeria is a replica of events people experience in most countries in the world. The playwright also uses his imagination to appropriately capture the attention of the readers. He uses metaphorical language and imagery to meticulously reveal what drives the characters to exhibit their behavior. What amuses me about the play is the unique perspective that the playwright uses analyzing a plethora of factors that affect people in the society. Each of the characters was assigned a particular role that they perform with a lot of competence. Readers who have prior knowledge about the Yoruba culture will find the play quite fulfilling.

I highly recommend The Swamp Dwellers because of its simple and straightforward theme and appropriate language was applied to the issues raised in the play.

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