The Analysis Of The Play Of Giants By Professor Wole Soyinka


The play centres on some set of tyrannical or dictatorial African leaders at the bay in an embassy in New York. The four African heads of state – Benefacio Gunema, Emperor Kasco, Field- Marshal Kamini and General Barra Tuboum – believe in dictatorship by acquiring so much power, brutality of power and dehumanization. They are ruthless and five no room for freedom of humanity. They mismanage the resources of the nation (part 1, pg 4) believing that they the power (Part 1, pg 10).

These leaders give no room for human self expression and exploit the helpless masses. They derive pleasure in wars, ‘we fight, we kill or we die’ (part 1, pg 21). They see themselves as being born to rule and refer to themselves, especially Kamini, as Life President (part 1, pg 26). They acquire power through any available means, even through voodoo and imprisoned the ones who dare to challenge their authoritarian rule. Gunema sentenced to death those who plot against him.

The evils of these leaders do not end on there; they also go as far as violating the dignity womanhood. They have no regard for the women – force themselves on women and do have sex with them forcefully (part 2, pg 58). The amigos believe that rebellion is contagious disease and so they spend much to acquire destructive weapons in case of war or coup d’état (part 2, pg 63).

Other themes in the book include hatred, racism, egoism (ego-centric), power tussle and imperialism.

SETTING: The action takes place at the Bugaran Embassy to the United Nations, New York. The timer is a few years before the present.

CHARACTERS: The play, A play of Giants, has the following characters:

Benefacio Gunema, Emperor Kasco, Field- Marshal Kamini, General Bara Tuboum (These are the four African Head of State), Gudrum, a Scandinavian journalist, Chairman of the Bugara Central Bank, Sculptor, Bugaran Ambassador, Mayor of Hyacombe, Professor Batey, Two Russian Delegates, Two American Delegates, Task force specials, Guards and Secretary-General of the United Nations.

CHARACTERIZATION: The author introduces the characters himself to the reader by a way of prologue or interlude at the beginning and in the course of the play respectively. He took a critical look at the resemblance between the African Heads of State and recent historical characters has been too pronounced; leaders like Macias Nguema (late) of Equatorial Guinea, Jean Basptiste Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Mobutu Sese Koko of Congo Kinshasa and the Hero of heroes, the Field Marshal El-Haji Dr. Idi Aminof Uganda.

STRUCTURE: The play is divided into two (2) parts: Part One and Part Two

USE OF LITRARY DEVICES: The author makes use of narration in the course of the play. He also displays element of conflict through the aggressive African Heads of State and the representatives of UN and America.