Leadership and cultural frames in Wole Soyinka’s “The strong breed”


  • Ifeyinwa Rita Obiegbu Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria ,Nsukka.




Wole Soyinka’s “The Strong Breed”, leadership, authorisation, legitimisation, religion and tradition


Based on insights from sociology and critical discourse analysis, this study examines how religion enables persons and institutions to legitimise power and social control in a traditional African society. It shows that religion, besides being an instrument of social cohesion and harmony, can also serve the interest of the dominant group in the curtailment of the rights of the weak and the minority. This is built on the framework that the authorisation exercised by religious institutions and their agents is essentially derived from custom, tradition and conformity. The authorities of tradition and conformity ensure that agents sustain the cultural pattern irrespective of its consequences on human rights. This paper therefore examines how religious agents in Wole Soyinka’s “The Strong Breed” (1973) use the authorities of tradition and conformity to entrench tyranny. Analyses indicate that the social contradictions and conflicts that are immanent in the society of the play are functions of distinct ideological categories/cultural frames in dramatic conflicts which make social change inevitable.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ifeyinwa Rita Obiegbu, Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria ,Nsukka.



Adebayo, T. 2008. “Reintegration and Restoration: A Reading of Camara Laye’s Dramouss”. Literature and Modern West African Culture. Ed. D. I. Nwoga. Benin City: Ethiope Publishing Corporation.

Bariki, I. 2009. “Translating African Names in Fiction”. Ikala, Revista de Language Cuttura. Hong Kong: Longman.

Haralambos, M. and M. Holborn. 2000. Sociology. Themes and Perspectives. 7th ed. London: Collins Educational Books.

Idowu, O. 2005. “A Pragmasociolinguistic Study of Names and Nicknames in Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman”. Perspectives on Language and Literature. Eds. Moji Olateju and Lekan Oyeleye. lle-Ife: Obafemi Awolowo University Press.

Ikime, O. 2006. History, the Historian and the Nation: The Voice of a Nigerian Historian. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria Plc.

Izevbaye, D. 1981. “Naming and Character in African Fiction”. Research in African Literature.

Leeuwen, V. T. 2008. Discourse and Practice: New Tools for-Critical Discourse Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.

Locke, T. 2004. Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.

Nwahunanya, C. 2007. Literary Criticism, Critical Theory and Post Colonial Literature. Owerri: Springfield Publishers.

Obiechina, E. 2008. “Perception of Colonialism in West African Literature”. Literature and West African Culture. Ed. D. I. Nwoga. Benin City: Ethiope Publishng Corporation.

Ogunba, O. 1975. The Movement of Transition: A Study of the Plays of Wole Soyinka. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.

Simpson, P. and A. Mayer. 2009. Language and Power: A Resource Book for Students. The Hague: Mouton.

Soyinka, W. 1972. “Interview with Lewis Nkosi and Ezekiel Mphahlele”. African Writers Talking. Eds. Duerden Dennis and Cosmo Pieterse. London: Heinemann Educational Books.

Soyinka, W. 1973. “The Strong Breed”. Wole Soyinka: Collected Plays 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Soyinka, W. 1976. Myth Literature and the African World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taiwo, O. 2007. An Introduction to West African Literature. Lagos: Thomas Nelson (Nigeria).

Wiredu, K. 2012. Philosophy and African Culture. London: Cambridge University Press.




How to Cite

Obiegbu, I. R. (2018). Leadership and cultural frames in Wole Soyinka’s “The strong breed”. Journal of English Studies, 16, 221–236. https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.3286