Death And The King 's Horseman Essay

Death And The King 's Horseman Essay

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Things Fall Apart, Death and the King’s Horseman, and So Long a Letter all have similar and different qualities on how the concept of death is viewed in their respective cultures. A western English-speaking reader knows that death is the end of a biological, physical, and mental life. Western culture generally accepts end of life due to “natural” causes such as disease or old age. Any “human involvement” in taking a life is treated as a crime or sickness. In Death and the King’s Horseman, death is not the ‘end of life’ but rather a transfer to another land. In Things Fall Apart, death is taken extremely seriously by the culture, and is seen as the ‘end of life.’ Finally, in So Long a Letter, death is not taken seriously, as some of their traditions and values contradict one another. Overall, the cultures in each novel and play obtain different qualities.
Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, is set in 1959 in Nigeria. In the novel, death confounds our commonsensical understanding of ‘the end of life.’ Ikemefuna was given to Umuofia as a sacrifice for his father killing a daughter of Umuofia. He was just an innocent, young fifteen-year-old boy given to Okonkwo’s family. He was taken away from his family and sent away because of his father’s actions. The passage states, “he could not understand what was happening to him or what he had done. How could he know that his father had taken a hand in killing a daughter of Umuofia?” (Achebe 15). Ikemefuna was a young boy who had no partaking in his father’s actions. Unfortunately, he faced some consequences when he is brought into Umuofia and was ultimately killed by the Oracle. When the Oracle ordered for Ikemefuna to be killed, a western English-speaking reader may not understand ...


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...since it is so different from what a western reader would be used to. For example, murder is not accepted in the United States and if performed, the offender will be punished. The texts read during this course help fill in any missing holes regarding varying cultures and their views on death, including suicide and killing based on rituals. Death is a major theme of Death and the King’s Horseman, as well as in Things Fall Apart. All three stories showcase different cultures; however, the belief of the ‘end of life’ varies between Death and the King’s Horseman, Things Fall Apart, and So Long a Letter. Overall, death is approached by these three stories in one similar way. Death is seen as a sacrifice in their respective cultures. Death is part of a ritual, and each culture has different reasoning behind it, despite it being different than what a westerner would expect.

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