Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Swamp Dwellers

The Struggle Between Human Beings and Unfavorable Forces of Nature

The Swamp Dwellers concentrates on the battle between the old and the better approaches for life in Africa. It likewise gives us a picture of the attachment that existed between the single and southern Nigerian social order. The clash between custom and innovation is moreover reflected in the play. The play mirrors the socio-customary design, the string and the sufferings of the marsh occupants and underlines the requirement for retaining new plans. The battle between homo sapiens and unfavorable drives of nature is moreover caught in the play. Soyinka presents us the picture of present day Africa where the wind of progress began blowing.

The Swamp Dwellers is a nearby investigation of the plan of life in the separated villages of the African wide open and an existential investigation of the basic society who confront rigours of life without any trust or succor. Soyinka tears separated social treachery, deception and dictatorship. The Swamp Dwellers communicates the requirement for a parity between the old and the new. Soyinka is not for extreme glorification of the past. In the play we see Soyinka's campaign against tyranny, lack of concern and self hallucination. Additionally, in The Swamp Dwellers Soyinka satirises the selling out of livelihood for the fascination and control in one shape or a different one.
The Swamp Dwellers reflects the life of the individuals of southern Nigeria. Their employment primarily is agro based. They weave crate, till and grow land. They put stock in serpent faction. They perform demise rituals. They offer grain, bull, goat to conciliate the serpent of the marsh. Traders from city come there for crocodile skins. They draw junior ladies with cash. Alu withstands their enticement. Youthful men head off to the urban areas to profit, to drink packaged lager. Actually the city vestiges them.The Swamp Dwellers quintessential their wedding at the bunk where the waterways meet. They think about the waterway cot itself as the ideal wedding bunk. Sudden surge ruin the harvests tossing life out of rigging.
The marsh occupants are friendly. They give stick brew in calabash measures. Fly debilitation blinds them. Joyful making and drumming both go together in their lives. Sheep and goats are nourished on cassava. They have confidence in welcome through drumming. They have confidence in sooth stating. Any endeavor to recover the area from the bog is thought about a skeptical gesture. Companions who meet after an entire season enjoy in drinking sessions. The point when the stream is swollen individuals are carried crosswise over by society like Wazuri. The marsh tenants have confidence in the faultlessness of Kadiye, cleric of the serpent of the bog. Their conviction is abused by Kadiye to the grip. Igwezu inquiries Kadiye and his ways. It lets us know of the crash between custom and innovation in southern Nigeria. Downpour carries them trust. It carries the wonder of new conception to the area. Water plays the part of both the originator and destroyer in the life of the bog occupants. Products are without warning annihilated by the swarming insects.
The Swamp Dwellers makes utilize of differentiation, parallelism, humour and incongruity in a suitable way. Soyinka centers the predicament of the bog tenants in the play sensibly. The marsh inhabitants are at the leniency of enraged nature unless they trade off convention with innovation, grip advanced engineering they wouldn't have a brilliant fate. The Swamp Dwellers by Wole Soyinka is set in a retrograde village of Nigeria in the Delta locale. Yet the characters of the play regularly have critical face to face times with the town life. Common to the individuals of a neediness ridden village, the town is a spot of cash, and sumptuousness to the Swamp tenants. To the more seasoned era of the marsh tenants notwithstanding, the town is the image of pollution. Here the state of mind to the city life are basically communicated by Alu, Makuri, Igwezu, and Kadiye.
The more seasoned eras' perspectives to the city are communicated through Alu and Makuri. Alu and Makuri have two children-Awuhike and Igwezu. Both of their children headed off to the city for better prospects.
Yet Awuchike pulled in by city cuts of all his connection with his folks. This thanklessness considerably more unites Alu and Makuri's preference against the city. In the opening scene of the play Makuri states to Alu that Awuchike headed off to the city in light of the fact that he had go tired of the Swam. In addition, Makuri states that the junior men head off to the huge town to profit. Anyway a large portion of them overlook their society and cut their connection with the roots, states Makuri.
To Makuri the city is the spot of eternality and defilement. A portion of the occasions affirm Makuri's perspectives. Case in point, Desala who had run to the city with her spouse Igwezu left him and ran with Auchike who had more cash. Gonushi's offspring is a different case of the schmuck of city. He moreover headed off to the city and cut off his connection with wife and kids. All the Swamp Dwellers think about city as the spot to profit. This perspective is communicated through the Kadiye. When Igwezu returns home from the city the Kadiye visits Igwezu's house. Anyhow Igwezu is still outside. The Kadiye needs to know from Makuri if Igwezu had made a fortune in the city. Consistent with Kadiye all can profit "in the city".
In his exchange with Igwezu, the Kadiye inquires as to what amount of cash he did make in the town. The Kadiye feels that Igwezu had profited to purchase the entire village. The point when Igwezu discusses his last limit, the Kadiye doesn't accept it. To him it is implausible for a man who headed off to city to be in indebtedness or monetary oblige. Anyway the true picture of city is communicated by Igwezu. In his discussion with Makuri, Igwezu states that the city is the spot where just cash matters. Cash makes a man critical and colossal in the city. Additionally individuals without cash have no spot in a city. In this way we see that the Swamp Dwellers have jumbled emotions about the city. To the vast majority of the Swamp Dwellers city is the spot of solace, cash and richness. Yet there are moreover some individuals who have an extremely negative perspective towards the city life. Still there are men like Igwezu who loathe the city life however is compelled to head off to the city.
The characters in The Swamp Dwellers fell into three gatherings: the folks Makuri and Alo-moderate, the degenerate minister Kadiye, who dumbfounds his superstitious adherents; and the two positive people Igwezu and the Beggar, moving, considering, looking for then after that questionable what they have discovered. It is a play of state of mind and environment, built to give the group of onlookers plentiful chance to make examinations and achieve judgment. Soyinka makes his focuses through suggested differences and illustrations. In the play, there is difference between twin blood mates, father and child, between mother-in –law and little girl in-law, between the Beggar and have, illustration between Igwezu and the Beggar and the last difference between the Beggar and the Priest Kadiye.

Two Brothers

The most evident differentiation is that between the twins siblings, who resemble the other indistinguishable yet carry on distinctively Awuchike has left home for ten years and exists in town. There he bargains in timbers and thrives quick. However he never thinks about his underprivileged old folks. Furthermore, he doesn't even correspond with his folks, subsequently his mother feels that, he expired in marsh suffocating, however his father realizes that he is still vivified in town and procuring cash there. He is dead to his guardians and family authority/ although, Igwezu is truly inverse to him. He moreover runs to town with his wife to look for his fortune. He guaranteed that, with first earned cash, he will send a swivel seat for his father and he fulfills his guarantee. He corresponds with his guardians and takes care of them. All things considered, Awuchike is unfeeling, conceited, egoster, emotionless, oblivious, undutiful promotion rebellious towards guardians yet Igwezu is loyal, loyal towards his folks.


Differentiate between Mother-in–law and Daughter-in-law

There is a differentiation between the ladies in the gang. Igwezu's mother Alu is devoted and devoted to his father Makuri. Alu and Makuri lead their marital life in subsistence level. Makuri makes crate with surges and Alu works at her "adire' fabric. Makuri is additionally an infrequent barer. All the same, they exist from hand to mouth. In youth, Alu was extremely excellent. An aggregation of crocodile traders went by the Swamp and offered Alu to leave for city with them yet Alu checked the enticement and dismissed their offers. All through her life, she imparts the well and trouble of her spouse and remains devoted. Makuri never feels tension for her purpose. Plus, she adores the marsh area and never communicates any wish to leave for city. Be that as it may Igwezu's wife is switched to Alu. Her condition before wedding was that, she must must be taken to town after marriage. She doesn't prefer natural life, reckless about Igwezu'sparens. Furthermore, whenever he starts their urban life, Igwezu's wife abandons him for well off Awuchike. The differentiating focus between the aforementioned two ladies is that, one is dependable and dependable to spouse and a different is conflicting and unfaithful, one is materialistic, a different is straightforward and legit.


Homeless person in correlation to Igwezu

The destitute of vision poor person offers an observation to Igwezu. The bum loses his harvests to beetle and leaves his home in Bukanji, strolls to the south passing through the city, looking for area to develop. Igwezu likewise loses his yields to surge leaves his home in Swamp and takes shield in town. That is both experience incident yet both are determined to procure their job by work. They are unlike Awchike and Kadiye.


Differentiate between Makuri and theBeggar

There is a difference between Makuri and the Beggar. In spite of the fact that Makuri has visual perception, he can't locate the secret that his family is being boggled, deluded by the degenerate Priest. Anyway however the bum is denied of visual perception, his otherworldly light is so compelling and penetrative that, he can catch the greater part of the Priest out of his voice. This implies that, he can surmise that the Priest is devouring their brand new trims by method of false customs.

Derelict complexities to the Priest Kadiye

The visually impaired poor person additionally offers a difference to the Priest Kadiye. In spite of the fact that he is viewed as homeless person, truly, he doesn't put stock in entreating. Rather he trusts in the ethicalness of tirelessness-this is the means by which he forgets his home and gets in hunt of a cultivable land. The point when the servant of the cleric gives a coin, the hobo holds his dish upside down. The street dweller is not superstitious. He can't accept that, there is any heavenly being in the name a serpent God, who has land. Anyhow, the minister whose head is striking, skin-delicate, looks like oily porpoises implores his in modern structure. He takes goats, minerals and different relinquishes offered by the senseless villagers. They offer the reparation to mollify the God and need security at their lives and crops. Be that as it may the cleric devours when Igwezu asks," Why are you so large?" He goes out. Notwithstanding, the bum needs to gain his work by work while the minister gains his business by false snare and misleading. The Beggar hoodwinks none rather brings ideal perspectives up in Igwezu however he minister bamboozles all.

Differentiate between town and nation

Irrevocably there is a difference between town and nation. Life in town is wellspring of agony, dissatisfaction and thwarted expectation. It is an eagerness ruled spot and just hard-hearted individuals succeed. Anyhow life in nation is mix & distress and joy. In village, the family is mixed, individuals are silly, accommodating, equipped for being bamboozled quite effortlessly. Also, the nation individuals are the manikin at the hand of nature. Nature shatter their trust again offers the chump a hope.
To sum up, through the ordinary characterization WoleSoyika carries to our notice the disposition, society and life style of Nigerian individuals. Also he indicates how the generally speaking budgetary development influences the subsistence economy of Nigeria.

Tradition Vs Modernity
Tradition and Modernity both are opposite from each others. It was very difficult to tell that which path that we want to followed. Tradition is good or Modernity is good. Tradition and Modernity is issues is not new but very old. With the development of human being this problem was comes to in exist. In the play also we can find the same problem. Igwezu and Awuchike they both are twins. One is representing Tradition and another is representing modernity.
The Swamp Dweller by Wole Soyinka is a backward village of Nigeria in the Delta region. But the characters of the play often have important interaction with the town life. Typical to the people of a poverty ridden village, the town is a place of money, and luxury to the Swamp dwellers. To the older generation of the swamp dwellers however the town is the symbol of corruption. Here the attitudes to the city life are mainly expressed by Alu, Makuri, Igwezu, and Kadiye. The older generations’ views to the city are expressed through Alu and Makuri. Alu and Makuri have two sons Awuhike and Igwezu. Both of their sons went to the city for better prospects.
But Awuchike attracted by city cuts of all his with his parents. This ungratefulness even more consolidates Alu and Makuri’s prejudice against the city. This ungratefulness even more consolidates Alu that Awuchike went to the city because he had go sick of the Swam. Moreover, Makuri says that young men go to the city because he had go sick of the money. But most of them forget their folk and cut their relation with the roots, says Makuri.
To Makuri the city is the place of immorality and corruption. Some of the events confirm Makuri’s views. For example, Desala who had gone the city with her husband Igwezu left him and went with Awuchike who had more money.  Gonushi’s son is another example of the victim of city. He also went to the city and cut off his relation with wife and children. All the Swamp Dwellers consider city as the place to make money. This view is expressed through the Kadiye. As soon as Igwezu returns home from the city the Kadiye visits Igwezu’s house. But Igwezu is still outside. The Kadiye wants to know from Makuri if Igwezu had made a fortune in the city. According to Kadiye all can make money “in the city.”
In his conversation with Igwezu, the Kadiye asks Igwezu, the Kadiye asks Igwezu repeatedly about how much money he did make in the town. The Kadiye thinks that had made enough money to buy the whole village. When Igwezu talks about his final restrain, the Kadiye doesn’t believe it. To him it is impossible for a man who went to city to be in debt or financial constrain.
But the real picture of city is expressed by Igwezu. In his conversation with Makuri, Igwezu says that the city is the place where only money matters. Money makes a man important and big in the city. On the other hand people without money have no place in a city.
Thus we see that the Swamp Dweller have mixed feeling about the city. To most of the Swamp Dwellers city is the place of comfort, money and luxury. But there are also some people who hate the city life but is forced to go to the city
‘The Swamp Dwellers’ focuses the struggle between the old and the new ways of life in Africa. It also gives us a picture of the cohesion that existed between the individual and southern Nigerian society. The conflict between tradition and modernity is also reflected in the play. The play mirrors the socio-cultural pattern, the pang and the sufferings of the swamp dwellers and underlines the need for absorbing new ideas. The struggle between human being and unfavorable forces of nature is also captured in the play. Soyinka presents us the picture of modern Africa where the wind of change started blowing.
‘The Swamp Dwellers’ is a close study of the pattern of life in the isolated hamlets of the African countryside as well as an existential study of the simple folk who face rigors of life without any hope or succor. Soyinka tears apart social injustice, hypocrisy and tyranny. ‘The Swamp Dwellers’ expresses the necessity for a balance between the old and the new Soyinka is not for excessive glorification of the past. In the play we see Soyinka’s crusade against authoritarianism, complacency and self delusion. Besides, in ‘The Swamp Dwellers’ Soyinka satirists the betrayal of vocation for attraction and power in one form or another.
‘The Swamp Dwellers’ reflects the life of the people of southern Nigeria. Their vacation mainly is agro based. They weave baskets, till and cultivate land. They believe in serpent cult. They perform death rites. They offer gain, bull goat to appease the serpent of the swamp. Traders from city come there for crocodile skins. They lure young woman with money. Alu withstands their temptation. Young men go to the cities to make money, to drink bottled beer. In fact the city ruins them. ‘The Swamp Dwellers’ consummate their wedding at the bed where the rivers meet. They consider the river bed itself as the perfect bridal bed. Sudden flood ruin the crops throwing life out of gear.
The swamp dwellers are hospitable. They give cane brew in calabash cups. Fly sickness blinds them. Merry making and drumming both go together in their lives. Sheep and goats are fed on cassava. They believe in sooth saying. Any attempt to reclaim the land from the swamp is considered an irreligious act. Friends who meet after a whole season indulge in drinking bouts. When the stream is swollen people are ferried across by folk like wazuri. The swamp dwellers believe in the infallibility of Kadiye priest of the serpent of the swamp. Their belief is exploited by Kadiye to the hilt. Igwezu questions Kadiye and his ways. It tells us of the clash between tradition and modernity in southern Nigeria. Rain brings them hope. It brings the marvel of new birth to the land. Water plays the role of the creator and destroyer in the life of the swamp dwellers. Crops are suddenly destroyed by the swarming locusts.
‘The Swamp Dwellers make use of contrast, parallelism, humor and irony in a suitable manner. Soyinka focuses the plight of the swamp dwellers in the play realistically. The swamp dwellers are at the mercy of furious nature unless they compromise tradition with modernity, embrace modern technology they wouldn't have bright future.
WoleSoyinka‟s play The  Swamp  Dwellers,  the  swamp itself  is  the  physical  image  of  spiritual  death.  The  spiritual  death  by  which the young sever all family and human ties with the village and indulge in a new kind of life in the towns is one of the main threats to the society of the village.The  Swamp  Dwellers explores  the  theme  of  man‟s  misfortune  set against  hostile  nature –physical  and  human.“Self  interest,  disguised  in traditional  ritual  and  religious  sanctions,  encumbers  the  ground  and  keeps the  people  just  above  starvation  level  and  so  makes  them  perpetually subservient to the serpent”
The  tone  of  despair  which  has been  noticeable  from  the  very  start  gets  more  pronounced  towards  the  end especially  as  it  becomes  certain  that  Igwezu‟s  voice  of  protest  will  be isolated.  Whether  it  is  living  with  the  age-old  meaningless  traditions  of  the village or in the corrupted heartless city, it is the death of the spirit in modern times.  “Is it of any earthly use to change one slough for another?” asks Igwezu, (1958:41).   In The Swamp Dwellers, the city also is a swamp.  And yet  each  must  be  experienced,  they  offer  challenge  not  refuge.
Igwezureturns  to  his  destiny  in  the  town,  and  leaves  the  Beggar  to  his  in  the  river delta.  The background  is  flood  and drought.   Igwezu leaves the  village, but the Beggar beckons him back, “the swallows find their nest again when thecold in over”
Conclusion:We can see conflict of tradition and modernity in the play. Village is representing tradition and city as modernity. They both are different from each others. This play is representing those different very well.

The characters in The Swamp Dwellers fell into three groups: the parents Makuri and Alo-conservative, the corrupt priest Kadiye, who beguiles his superstitious followers; and the two positive individuals Igwezu and the Beggar, moving, wondering, seeking and then uncertain what they have found. It is a play of mood and atmosphere, constructed so as to provide the audience with ample opportunity to make comparisons and reach judgment. Soyinka makes his points through implied contrasts and comparisons. In the play, there is contrast between twin brothers, father and son, between mother- in –law and daughter- in- law, between the Beggar and host, comparison between Igwezu and the Beggar and the final contrast between the Beggar and the Priest Kadiye.


Two Brothers:

The most obvious contrast is that between the twins brothers, who look alike but behave differently Awuchike has left home for ten years and lives in town. There he deals in timbers and thrives fast. But he never thinks of his poor old parents. Besides, he does not even communicate with his parents, as a result his mother thinks that, he died in swamp drowning, though his father knows that he is still alive in town and earning money there. He is dead to his parents and family responsibility/ whereas, Igwezu is quite opposite to him. He also goes to town with his wife to seek his fortune. He promised that, with first earned money, he will send a swivel chair for his father and he fulfils his promise. He communicates with his parents and looks after them. After all, Awuchike is callous, self centered, egoster, nonchalant, unmindful, undutiful ad disobedient towards parents but Igwezu is obedient, dutiful towards his parents.


Contrast between mother- in –law and daughter- in- law:

There is a contrast between the women in the family. Igwezu’s mother Alu is faithful and loyal to his father Makuri. Alu and Makuri lead their conjugal life in subsistence level. Makuri makes basket with rushes and Alu works at her “adire’ cloth. Makuri is also an occasional barer. After all, they live from hand to mouth. In youth, Alu was very beautiful. A group of crocodile traders visited the Swamp and offered Alu to leave for city with them but Alu checked the temptation and rejected their offers. Throughout her life, she shares the well and woe of her husband and remains faithful. Makuri never feels tension for her sake. Besides, she loves the swamp region and never expresses any wish to leave for city. But Igwezu’s wife is reversed to Alu. Her condition before wedding was that, she must have to be taken to town after marriage. She does not like rustic life, careless about Igwezu’sparens. Besides, whenever he begins their urban life, Igwezu’s wife leaves him for wealthy Awuchike. The contrasting point between these two women is that, one is faithful and consistent to husband and another is inconsistent and unfaithful, one is materialistic, another is simple and honest


Beggar in comparison to Igwezu:

The blind beggar offers a comparison to Igwezu. The beggar loses his crops to locust and leaves his home in Bukanji, walks to the south passing through the city, searching for land to cultivate. Igwezu also loses his crops to flood leaves his home in Swamp and takes shelter in town. That is both experience misfortune but both are resolved to earn their livelihood by labor. They are unlike Awchike and Kadiye.


Contrast between Makuri and the beggar :

There is a contrast between Makuri and the beggar. Though Makuri has eyesight, he cannot detect the mystery that his family is being beguiled, deceived by the corrupt Priest. But though the beggar is deprived of eyesight, his spiritual light is so powerful and penetrative that, he can detect the bulk of the Priest out of his voice. This means that, he can guess that the Priest is consuming their fresh crops by means of false rituals.


Beggar contrasts to the Priest Kadiye:

The blind beggar also offers a contrast to the Priest Kadiye. Though he is regarded as beggar, actually, he does not believe in begging. Rather he believes in the virtue of diligence- this is how he leaves his home and gets out in search of a cultivable land. When the servant of the priest gives a coin, the beggar keeps his bowl upside down. The beggar is not superstitious. He can not believe that, there is any supernatural being in the name a serpent God, who possesses land. But, the priest whose head is bold, skin-tender, looks like greasy porpoises begs his in sophisticated form. He takes goats, ores and other sacrifices offered by the simple minded villagers. They offer the sacrifice to appease the God and want protection at their lives and crops. But the priest consumes when Igwezu asks,” Why are you so fat?” He leaves Makuri’s house. After all, the beggar wants to earn his livelihood by labor while the priest earns his livelihood by false bait and deception. The Beggar deceives none rather raises optimistic views in Igwezu but he priest deceives all.


Contrast between town and country:

Finally there is a contrast between town and country. Life in town is source of pain, disappointment and frustration. It is a greed dominated place and only hard- hearted people prosper. But life in country is blend & sorrow and happiness. In village, the family is integrated, people are simple minded, hospitable, capable of being deceived very easily. Besides, the country people are the puppet at the hand of nature. Nature shatter their hope again offers the victim an optimism.
To conclude, through the typical characterization WoleSoyika brings to our notice the attitude, culture and life style of Nigerian people. Besides he shows how the overall economic growth affects the subsistence economy of Nigeria.



Igwezu is the son of Alu and Makuri. He is twin with Awuchike. He is the centre of the play. The Swamp Dwellers is a drama of revelation and Igwezu gets education through experience both in the city and in the swamp.
Igwezu’s discovery of the deficiencies of the village life and the city life constitutes the primary thematic content of the play. Igwezu plays a pivotal role in the play as a truth teller. He is a character in the play who has tasted the ups and downs of life both in the village and in the city. As a swamp dweller he knows how life goes in the southern part of Nigeria. It is through him Soyinka criticizes the corrupt religious practices of Kadiye. Familial ties have meaning for him. In that aspect, Igwezu is unlike his brother Awuchike, a city dweller.
As a city dweller for eight months, Igwezu knows the break and bounce of city life. He knows how people like Awuchike are ruthless in making money. He is a broke in business. He comes back home. His land is flooded. His hope of getting a good harvest is blasted. He is betrayed by his own brother. Desala, his wife betrays him. She changes hand.
Igwezu has a frank talk with Kadiye. The talk exposes the serpent cult as a sham. Igwezu welcomes modernization to the swamp. He is ready for a change of mind. For all his thinking in terms of modernization, Igwezu does not have the grit to reclaim the land from the swamp.
Igwezu’s experience of life, both in the city and in the village disillusions him. He reflects critically on his situation. He doubts the value system cherished by the community. Returning to the city again is like returning to one slough from another. He decides to entrust the land to the beggar. He rejects the Beggar’s help because he does not like one blind man leading another.

Narrative Style:

Dramatic  techniques  are  very vital  in  the  art  of  playwriting  as  they  assist  in  developing and presenting effective plot structure. Different techniques are used  for different plot. Soyinka has  been  considered  as  a  master craftsman  in  the  art  of  drama.  Let’s  have  a  look  at  one  of  his important plays from structural point of view.


The  play  is  comparatively  short  of  all  of  Soyinka’s  plays.  It  relates  a  story  of  a  poor family residing in Niger Delta region. When the play opens we find Makuri and Alu awaiting for their  beloved  younger  son  Igwezu.  They  fear  that  their  younger  song  Igwezu  should  not  go missing  like  their  elder  son  Awuchick,  who  had  gone  to  the  city  some  ten  years  ago.  Both  the brothers had left the village to seek their fortune in the city.
The conversation of the old couple has been interrupted with an arrival of a blind Begger. This  blind  begger  is  a  tall  and  thin  Moslem  from  north  Nigeria.  Thebegger  tells  his  pathetic story  howhe  has  become  blind  and  how  drought  in  northern  part  has  destroyed  the  lives  of people  dwelling  in  that  area.  However,  the  begger’s  appearance  and  strong  positive  attitude towards  life  impresses  Makuri  and  Alu.  He  tells  them  that  he  does  not  accept  charity  from irreligious  people,  and  is  dying  to  farm  the  land.  Meanwhile  the  village  priest  Kadiye  enters  to know if Igwezu has returned from the city. His visit is not out of sympathy or knowing the wellbeing  of  the  family.  But  he  wanted  to  check  if  Igwezu  has  made  fortune  in  the  city,  so that  he could extract something  in the  name of God and religion. When  he comes to know that Igwezuhasn’t yet returned, he leaves the hut promising to return after Igwezu’s arrival.
Igwezu  returns  from  the  field  greatly  disappointed  by  the  destruction  of  his  farm  due  to flood. The beggerconsoles  him promising that his  farm will once again  stand, and  he will give himself as his bondsman. The Kadiye reenters again, and inquires if Igwezu has made money in the  city.  Igwezu  admits  that  he  actually  gone  into  the  debts.  And  hehas  pledged  his  farm  as  a security for his debt. What is worse, his own brother has exacted this pledge from him. It is more saddening to know from him that his wife Desala has left him and become his brother’s mistress. The Kadiya gets ready to shave by seating in the swivel chair.
While shaving the Kadiye, Igwezu asks a series of questions to the Kadiye. He asks if he have  not  offered  all  valuable  gifts  to  him  in  order  to  save  his  farm  and  family.  Then,  why  his farm  and  family  has  been  destroyed.  Wasn’t  it  a  responsibility  of  a  Kadiye  to  protect?  In  a moment  of  anger,  he  was  to  slice  into  the  rolls  of  fat  beneath  the  priestly  chin.  But  some  howcontrols  himself and  allows the  Kadiye to fly.  Acknowledging the  insult of theKadiye, Makuriwarns  Igwezu  that  Kadiye  may  stir  up  the  village  against  him.  Igwezu  flees  to the  city  sensing the  danger  from  the  Kadiye.  But  while  going  he  advises  the  blind  begger  to  stay  in  the  village and cultivate the land. To the begger’s question. ‘If he will return, he gives no answers. The play ends with the Begger’s assurance of staying in the village and giving account to Igwezu.


Plot / structure:

We  have  a  finely  devised  plot  for  the  play  ‘The  Swamp  Dwellers’. This  timeSoyinkaemploys a new technique to relate the story. This technique is gathering information from every new  character  in  the  play.  The  plot  is  a  simple  story  of  a  poor  family  and  their  struggle  for survival. The story could have taken more pages and time, had it written in an action format. But with the narrative technique of sharing information it is made short. Every new character narrates his  experiences  with  the  other  characters  of  the  play.  While  doing  this  the  playwright  never allows  himself  to  detrack  from the  original  story.  He  successfully  manages  to  bring  these experiences  into a  fullfleged  story with a good beginning a  middle and  an end. The discussion of the elderly couple about the where about of their twins constitute the beginning. The episode of the blind begger provides the middle. And the clash of Igwezu and the Kadiye forms the end.
Unlike the strong Breed, the playwright avoids to divide the plot  in acts and scenes. By doing  this  he  avoids  any  sort  of  interruption  in  the  smooth  going  story.  There  isn’t  a  single irrelevant  scene  or  episode  in  the  play.  The  episode  of  the  Blind  Begger  is  motivating  in  the completely destroyed situation of Igwezu and his family.



The  play  is  set  in  the  hut of  Makuri  and  Alu  in  a  village  of  the  Delta  region  of  south–east  Nigeria.  This  region  is  periodically  flooded  with  waters  of  river  Niger.  The  description  of the hut with its minute peculiarities adds greater dramatic effect. The inside detailing of the hut –rush –baskets, ‘a dire cloths and barber’sequipments, reminds one of the ideal pictures of huts in India. The play opens and ends in this hut. The swamp Dwellers is a realistic tragedy of the people living in Delta region. Therefore it is shadowed with grave atmosphere. The play opens with the elderly couple’s worry and scared feelings about the safty and whereabouts of their twin sons. This serious tone pertains till the endof the play. Because no  joyful or happy things  happen  in the  lives of the characters of the play. This  might  be  the  reason  why  we  don’t  find  any  comic  relief  in  the  play.  In  the  end  Igwezuleaves the town defeated and surrendered.



It is an inescapable tragedy of a poor family residing in Delta region. To me it is the main theme  of  the  play.  The  play  demonstrates  acritical  plight  of  a  farmer  family,  which  is  same everywhere regardless of region and country. These farmer families follow some or other sorts of traditions and customs which becomes the major cause of their  of their suffering. In the swamp Dwellers,villagers offer valuable gifts to the priest like the Kadiye, in order to appease the divine serpent of the swamp. Similar is the condition of the farmers in India, there are thousands of suicide on the part of the farmers following several customs like dowry marriageanimal sacrifice (bali) and so on.
At the same time the play throws light on the attitude of the village youths. Through the character  of  Awuchicke  Soyinka  criticizes  the  village  youth  for  getting  lost  in  to  the  glittering world  of  the  city,  breaking  allfamilial  and  human  ties  with  the  village.  In  the  ratrace  of prosperity  the  present  youth  is  turning  his  back  to  the  responsibilities  and  moralities  of  the society.  We  find  in  this  play  the  degeneration  of  human  relationship  in  the  form  of  Awuchike and Desala.
The play also questions the efficaciousness of the religious offerings in order to appease God or divinely powers. The series of questions that Igwezu asks to the Kadiye really makes one to  think  of  such  religious  practices.  The  question  “should  mancontinue  to  grope  through  an absurd  existence  with  blind  hope  for  divine  salvation  or  should  he  seek  other  ways  of  saving himself” (An Internet Entry).
In  comparison  with  Soyinka’s  other  plays  the  present  play  covers  limited  range  of themes. But  it does not fail to  make universal appeal.  From this  we can say that “Soyinka uses the theatre to make statements of human need and values” (JoleAdedji 127).

Entrance and Exit:

The  technique  that  Soyinka  has  used  to  build  up  the plot  largely  depends  on  the  entries and exits of  various characters. As  has  been  mentioned  earlier  in the discussion of the plot, the playwright  has  used  a  new  technique  of  story  building  in  the  form  of  gathering  of  information from  every  new  character  that  appears  on  the  stage.  The  characters  tend  to  enter  and  leave  the stage in succession. The Kadiye enters and exits, and again re-enters. In between the two visits of the  Kadiye,  Igwezu  and  the  blind  begger  enters.  The  dramatist  very  skillfully  brings  all the characters on the stage in the end of the play. The Kadiye’s entry accompanied by the drummer and the servant is striking and spectacular on each time. The meeting of Igwezu and the Beggeris at very appropriate time. In this way entrances and exits are superbly organized in order to add thematic significance to play.


Maintenance of  Unities:

The swamp Dwellers is probably the only play where in three unities of time, place, and action are closely followed by the dramatist. The play opens when the daylight has gone but it is not completely dark, and comes to an end when it is night. It does nottake more than two hours, the  time  that  is  justly  required  for  its  enactment  on  the  stage.  The  whole  action  takes  place  in Makuri’s  hut  into  which  the  characters  visit  in  succession  one  after  another.  All  the  important actions like Igwezu’s failure in thecity and at the home in the face of crop destruction, the story of  blind  begger;  Awuchike’s  betrayal  of  his  parents  and  brothers  and  befooling  of  the  villagers on  the  part  of  the  Kadiye,  are  brought  together  into  an  organic  whole.  The  interlinking  of  the various episodes are successfully brought together making a good story. No episode or action is unnecessarily imposed, and the different episode of the blind begger made an integral part of the play. The play is greatly appreciated for its brevity, simplification and organization.



The  element  of  contrast  exists  at  every  point  in  the  play.  It  is  by  this  element  that  the viewers judge the actions of the characters. The contrast is at the level of persons and places. The first  obivious  contrast  is  between  the  twin  brothers.  Awuchike  andIgwezu.  Awuchicke  is  the representative of new class of Nigeria, who has discarded all ties with the family and the village.
The  people  like  Awuchicke  leave  the  village  to  lost  permanently  in  the  city.  They  holdnofamilial or cultural responsibilities of any sort. Awuchike  has been  living  in the city  for  last tenyears.  And  has  prospered  as  a  wealthy  timber  merchant.  But  hasforgotton  his  familial  duties towards parents. Even severe than this he is morally degenerated in the pride of wealth. He feels no hesitation at seducing  his own  brother’s wife. Nor does he  feel shame  in taking pledge  from his own brother for the loan.
On  the  other  hand  we  have  a  pure  innocent  character  of  Igwezu,  for  whom  family  and village  matters  a  lot.  In  adverse  situation,  he  too  leaves  village  to  try  his  hand  at  making  his fortune.  But  he  never  for  a  moment  forget  his  village  and  parents.  As  soon  as  he  earn  little money in the city, he sends a barler’s chair for his father, which he had promised while leavingthe village. Moreover, like a responsible family member he performs all religious rites that were required  by  the  religion  and  tradition.  He  would  never  have  left  his  village,  had  his  wife  notinsisted for.
Similar  is  the  contrast  between  the  female  characters.Igwezu’s  mother  and  wife. Igwezu’s  mother  remained  loyal  to  his  father  despite  various  temptations  from  the  visiting traders. She is the ideal family woman, with a feeling of care for all family members. Contrasting to this  character  is  the  character of  Igwezu’s  wife.  She  deserts  her  husband  and  involves  in  the act  of  infidelity  with  her  brother-in-law.  The  glittering  world  of  city  tempts  Igwezu’s  wife  to break the familial bond of marriage and become a mistress of someone else.
The most important contrast that figures out in the play  is between the blind Begger and the Kadiye. The devout muslimbeggre denies the religious value of begging insisting as he does on a scheme of self –help that leads him to search for land where he can farm. The Kadiye is an opportunist, who is always on a quest to extract from the people even in their adverse situations. The  pot –bellied  Kadiye  rich  and  prosperous  figure  who  has  liking  for  wearing  rings  in  the finger. He befools the poor and innocent villagers in the name of religion.
The  final  contrast  is  between  the  bitter  hopelessness  of  Igwezu  and  calm  confidence  of the begger. Both have experienced the similar conditions of failure in the life. Igwezu surrenders to it, while the begger takes it as a challenge. The positive stance of the begger motivates Igwezuto come out of his riddle and try again for good. The draught and flood also form contrast in the play.


Soyinka’s concern through most of his plays, seem tobe the age-old customs and rituals. As a avowed reformer he discusses the  issues with a  view to bring about social change. Unlike Vijay Tendulkar society is at the centre for Soyinka in his plays. The swamp Dwellers is not an exception to it. The  basic  idea  for the play  was a  news that oil  had  been  found  in  marketable  a quantities  in  the  Niger  Delta  This  provided  the  playwright  with  a  theme  how  easy  money  can bring  social  changes  whatever  may  be  its  source.  The  fleet  of  the  rural  youth  to  the  cities severing all human ties also forms the concern of the play.
Although the source of he play is a news in the newspaper about the discovery of oil and its  impact  on  the  people,  still  the  playwright  cannot  think  of  the  Nigerian  society  devoid  of customs  and  rituals.  Here  he  talksof  the  farmer’s  divine  ritual  of  offering  valuable  gifts  to the swamp serpent as a security of farm and family.
Through  this  the  playwright  throws  light  on  the  in  effectiveness  of  such  rituals  and  the selfishness  of  the  religious  priests  like  the  Kadiye,who  exploit  innocent  people  in  the  name  of religion.
The  play  is  the  tragedy  of  poor  farmer  family,  who  are  destinied  to  suffer.  The  picturethat ha been presented in the play is universal, appealing to the plight of Monsoon all farmers in the world. In India we have a no different situation, for Indian farm is largely dependent on man soon  rain.  We  have  a  contrast  of  two  different  conditions  of  nature  in  the  play –draught  and flood.  Igwezu  and  his  family  suffer  due  to  flood,  where  as  the  blind  begger  faces  the consequences of draught.
There  is  a  controversy  among  the  critics  about  the  end  of  the  play.  Most  of  the  critics access this play as not ending on a positive note. Some successfully assert that the play does not offer solution to the problems raised. The Ibaden Magazine records: “The play does not end on apositive  note  by  showing  the  villagers  casting  off  their  superstitions  and  marching  off  to construct  dykes  and  increase  the  amount  of  land  available  for  farming
But  this view  of  these  scholars  is  contradictory  for  certain  reasons.  The  play  obliviously  ends  on a positive note. The blind begger’s ending speech is a kind of inspiration for the completely broken characters like Igwezu. The Begger:
“The swallows find their nest againWhen the cold is over,
Even the bats desert dark holes in the trees and flap wet leaves with wings of leather.
There  were  wings  everywhere  as  I  wiped  my  feet  against  your  threshold.  I  heard  the  cricket scratch himself beneath the armpit as the old man said
to me.....................
I shall be here to give account
The  begger  in  the  play  is  the  mouthpiece  of  the  playwright  who  not  only  inspires  the villagers to face adverse situations but also guides on how to solve the problem of flood with the help  of  land reclamation.  He  offers  his  valuable  suggestions  on  the  self-help  not relying  on  the external  forces. By  not offering solution the playwright might intended to retain the seriousness of the play. The playwright probably left it to the readers and viewers ofthe play to understand what and  how they  like the  end of the play,  “What Soyinka wished to convey  by  his ending of the  swamp  Dwellers  is  not  absolutely  clear:  it  is  an  ambiguous  code”.  But the  playcertainly  struck  the  positive  note  offering.  “The  ideal  of  individual  love-act-of-courage  in  the effort of saving humanity whenever such an individual possesses the will and the resources”
Wole Soyinka mostly rely on ritual and traditional sources for writing the play but this does not make his play traditional, rather this trend of writing play goes beyond the border  and gets universal recognition in perspective of humanity. The playwright uses the raw materials of myths and certain formal properties to furnish the play producing something new and sometimes entirely unexpected. Although the play sometimes exposes banal elements of human affairs, it gradually unravels the dramatist’s inner side and the universal complexities humans face across the globe. The banal elements which have stitched the play ultimately portray love for trends and tradition love for stability of human beings and love of family, the extended family. The dialogues exchanged in the play demonstrate strong family bond and love yearned by the chief characters.
The Swamp Dwellers makes use of contrast, parallelism, humor and irony in a suitable manner. Soyinka focuses the plight of the swamp dwellers in the play realistically. The swamp dwellers are at the mercy of furious nature unless they compromise tradition with modernity, embrace modern technology they wouldn’t have a bright future.