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THE CONCEPT OF SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGIC HERO IN
WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters

By
JOHN PIETER OLIYANTO GOA
Student Number: 074214057

ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
YOGYAKARTA
2014

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THE CONCEPT OF SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGIC HERO IN
WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters

By
JOHN PIETER OLIYANTO GOA
Student Number: 074214057

ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
YOGYAKARTA
2014
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STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY

I honestly declare that the thesis which I wrote does not contain the
works or part of works of other people except those cited in the
quotations and references, as a scientific paper should.

Yogyakarta, August 14, 2014
The writer

John Pieter
074214057

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LEMBARAN PERNYATAAN PERSETUJUAN
PUBLIKASI KARYA ILMIAH UNTUK KEPENTINGAN AKADEMIS
Yang bertanda tangan di bawah ini, saya mahasiswa Sanata Dharma:
Nama

: JOHN PIETER OLIYANTO GOA

Nomor Mahasiswa

: 07 4214 057

Dengan perkembangan ilmu pengetahuan, saya memberikan kepada Perpustakaan
Universitas Sanata Dharma

karya ilmiah saya berjudul : Concepts of

Shakespearean Tragic Hero In Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s
Horseman beserta perangkat yang diperlukan. Dengan demikian saya
memberikan kepada Perpustakaan Universitas Sanata Dharma hak untuk
menyimpan, mengalihkan dalam bentuk media lain, mengelolanya dalam bentuk
pangkalan data, mendistribusikan secara terbatas, dan mempublikasikannya di
internet dan media lain untuk kepenting akademis tanpa perlu meminta ijin dari
saya ataupun memberikan royalti kepada saya selama tetap mencantumkan nama
saya sebagai penulis.
Dengan pernyataan ini yang saya buat dengan sebenarnya.
Dibuat di Yogyakarta
Pada tanggal 14 september 2014
Yang mengatakan

(JOHN PIETER)

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Our greatest weakness lies in
giving up. The most certain way
to succeed is always to try just
one more time.
(Thomas A. Edison)

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First of all, my gratitude goes to my beloved God, Jesus Christ for helping
me to finish this undergraduate thesis. His abundant blessings and guidance
always be with me to face anything in my life.
My deep gratitude goes to my advisor, P. Sarwoto,S.S.,M.A.,Ph.D for his
patience, helps and inspirations. It is my pleasure to have him as my advisor
during this writing process especially for his correction and suggestion.
My greatest debt is to Dra. A.B. Sri Mulyani, M.A., Ph.D. for correcting
my millions of grammatical and spelling mistakes in this undergraduate thesis.
I also give my gratefulness to my beloved parents, Shinta and Jonny, for
their loves, prayers and supports. I thank all my friends for their supports to finish
this undergraduate thesis. First thanks goes to Horas, Frandy, Adonk, Windu,
Aldo and many more, who were generous with their time and friendship.
I owe profound thanks for all my friends in campus, especially Natalis
Yapto, Paul, Adi for all the memories of happiness and hardship. My gratitude
also goes to everyone in Sanata Dharma University, my big family in Jawawawo
and Giriwawo who cannot be mentioned one by one here.

John Pieter

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE ....................................................................................................................... i
APPROVAL PAGE ............................................................................................................. ii
ACCEPTANCE PAGE ........................................................................................................ iii
MOTTO PAGE .................................................................................................................... vi
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ................................................................................................... vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................... viii
ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................... x
ABSTRAK............................................................................................................................ xi
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................ 1
A. Back Ground of the Study ...................................................................................... 1
B. Problem Formulation ............................................................................................. 5
C. Objectives of the Study .......................................................................................... 5
D. Definition of Terms ............................................................................................... 6
CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL REVIEW........................................................................ 7
A. Review of Related Studies ..................................................................................... 7
B. Review of Related Theories ................................................................................... 12
1. Theory on Character and Characterization .................................................. 12
2. Theory on Plot ............................................................................................ 14
3. Theory on Shakespearean Tragic Hero........................................................ 16
C. Theoretical Framework .......................................................................................... 21
CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY .................................................................................... 22
A. Object of the Study ................................................................................................ 22
B. Approach of the Study ........................................................................................... 23
C. Method of the Study............................................................................................... 25
CHAPTER IV: ANALYSIS ................................................................................................ 26
A. Characteristics of the Hero ..................................................................................... 36
1. Humorous ................................................................................................... 27
2. Arrogant and Opportunist ........................................................................... 28
3. Redemptive ................................................................................................ 31
B. Plot of the Play ...................................................................................................... 32
1. Exposition or Introduction .......................................................................... 33
2. The rise and the development of the Conflict .............................................. 37
3. Crisis .......................................................................................................... 41
4. Declining Action ........................................................................................ 43
5. Catastrophe................................................................................................. 44
C. The Characteristics of Shakespearean Tragic Hero Reflected From
Characteristics of the Hero and Plot of the Play .............................................. 45
1. A high Degree and Admirable Person ......................................................... 45
2. Complex Characteristics ............................................................................. 48
3. Supernatural Elements ................................................................................ 50
4. The Appearance of Chance or Accident ...................................................... 54
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5. Exceptional Being ...................................................................................... 55
6. Pity and Admiration ................................................................................... 56
7. Fate and Welfare of Nation or Empire ........................................................ 58
CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION ........................................................................................... 60
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................ 63

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ABSTRACT
JOHN PIETER OLIYANTO GOA. Concept of Shakespearean Tragic Hero in
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. Yogyakarta: Department of
English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University, 2014.
Shakespeare is one of the famous English writers in this world. He gives a lot of
contributions to the development of English literature with his abundant works
including his tragic plays. In writing tragic plays, Shakespeare has his own
concept of tragedy which is different from other writers in his life time. His work
of tragedy has influenced many writers and one of them is Wole Soyinka. Wole
Soyinka was 1986 Nobel laureate and also hailed as African Shakespeare.
Soyinka’s work related to tragedy is Death and the King’s Horseman; written in
1975. The writer chooses this play as object of study because the writer wants to
prove the concept of tragic hero presented in Soyinka’s Death and the King’s
Horseman with concept of Shakespearean tragic hero since Soyinka is hailed as
African Shakespeare.
Death and the Kings Horseman is analyzed trough three problems formulated in
this research. The first is how Soyinka characterizes his tragic hero. The second is
how Soyinka draws his plot and the last is how the characteristics of hero and the
plot reflect the concept of Shakespearean tragic hero. The aim of this research is
to find out the characteristics of Shakespearean tragic hero in the Soyinka’s Death
and the King’s Horseman.
The method of this study is a library research. Some steps applied are collecting
the data, gaining the data necessary for the problem formulations and reading and
revealing concept of Shakespearean tragic hero from characteristics and plot of
the play. As a knife to observe the object of the study, the writer used structuralist
approach. Structuralists believed that things could not be understood in isolation.
They had to be seen in the context of the larger structures.
Through the analysis on the problem formulation, it is known that Soyinka does
not fully take the concept of Shakespearean tragic hero because he makes
modification in his tragic hero. His tragic hero is not a king or prince only chief of
king’s horseman. The story is not about the life of a state or a kingdom but about
the death ritual of king’s horseman, but it should be noted that Soyinka adopts
Shakespearean tragic hero in his play. The hero, Elesin Oba, shares qualities like
in Shakespeare’s tragic hero such as; he has high degree position and admired by
his people, he has complex characteristics, he is close to supernatural elements, he
experiences chance or accident, he is an exceptional being, his fate incurs pity and
admiration and his fate affects the lives of many.

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ABSTRAK
JOHN PIETER OLIYANTO GOA. Concept of Shakespearean Tragic Hero in
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. Yogyakarta: Jurusan Sastra
Inggris, Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Sanata Dharma,2014.

Shakespeare adalah salah satu penulis berkebangsaan Inggris yang tersohor di
dunia. Ia banyak berkontribusi terhadap perkembangan kesusasteraan Ingris
dengan karya-karyanya termasuk drama-drama tragis. Dalam menulis drama
tragis, Shakespeare memiliki konsep pahlawan tragis yang berbeda dari penulis
lain di zamannya. Karya-karya tragisnya telah mempengaruhi banyak penulis
diantaranya adalah Wole Soyinka yang adalah pemenang hadiah nobel sastra di
tahun 1986 dan dipuja sebagai Shakespearenya Afrika. Karya Soyinka yang
berhubungan dengan tragedi adalah Death and the King’s Horseman sebuah
drama yang di tulis pada tahun 1975. Penulis memilih drama ini karena penulis
ingin membuktikan konsep pahlawan tragis yang ada di dalam karya Soyinka
dengan konsep pahlawan tragis milik Shakespeare.
Dalam penelitian ini, Death and the King’s Horseman dikaji melalui tiga rumusan
masalah. Yang pertama adalah bagaimana Soyinka mengkarakterisasi pahlawan
tragisnya. Yang kedua adalah bagaimana Soyinka mendeskripsikan alur cerita dan
yang terakhir adalah bagaimana karakterisasi dari pahlawan dan alur cerita
merefleksikan konsep pahlawan tragis milik Shakespeare. Tujuan dari penelitian
ini adalah untuk menggali karakteristik pahlawan tragis milik Shakespeare dalam
drama yang ditulis Soyinka.
Adapun metode yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini adalah metode pustaka.
Beberapa langkah yang diperlukan untuk penelitian ini adalah pengumpulan data,
memperoleh data yang relevan dengan rumusan masalah, menganalisis dan
mengungkap konsep pahlawan tragis milik Shakespeare melalui karakteristik dan
alur. Sebagai pisau untuk membedah masalah, penulis menggunakan pendekatan
strukturalis. Para pemikir strukturalis percaya bahwa pemahaman akan karyakarya tidak dapat diperoleh melalui karya-karya tersebut melainkan harus
dikaitkan pada struktur yang lebih luas.
Melalui analisa yang diperoleh dari rumusan masalah, diketahui bahwa Soyinka
tidak sepenuhnya mengambil konsep pahlawan tragis milik Shakespeare. Ia
memodifikasi pahlawan tragisnya. Pahlawan tragisnya hanyalah seorang kepala
kusir kuda bukan raja atau pangeran seperti dalam karya Shakespeare.
Ceritanyapun tidak berhubungan dengan kerajaan tetapi sebuah ritual bunuh diri
tetapi perlu diakui bahwa Soyinka tetap mengadopsi konsep pahlawan tragis milik
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Shakespeare. Pahlawan tragisnya, Elesin Oba memiliki beberapa persamaan
dalam cerita milik Shakespeare seperti; seorang yang berkedudukan tinggi dan
dipuja banyak orang, memiliki kepribadian yang kompleks, dekat dengan hal gaib,
mengalami sebuah kebetulan, memiliki penderitaan yang luar biasa, kejatuhannya
mendatangkan rasa belas kasih dan kekaguman serta nasibnya menentukan hidup
banyak orang.

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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
A. Background of The Study
Reading a work of literature becomes an interesting thing for some people. A
presentation of a literary work is closely related to the reality of human’s life.
Over the centuries people have tried to define what literature is. In defining
literature, X.J Kennedy and Dana Gioa express their idea in Literature; an
Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, And Drama that literature in broader sense is
about

something

written,

it

offers

pleasure

and

illumination

(Kennedy and Gioa, 1998: xxxviii).
Charles E. Bressler puts a detail explanation when defining literature in his
Literary Criticism, an Introduction to Theory and Practice. He notes that
literature is text whose certain qualities contains some elements, such as plot,
character, tone, symbol, conflict that often represents the author’s life and has a
major function to teach good values and clearly to entertain readers
(Bressler, 1999: 10).
From the given information, it can be concluded that literature is a piece of
human work, commonly presented in the written form and carries major
functions; to convey good values and to entertain readers. In the matter of
conveying good values and entertaining readers, literature is composed by some
elements like plot, character, tone, symbol, and conflict.

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There are many genres in literary work such as fiction, poetry, drama, and
essay. From all those three, drama is a unique one. In How to Analyze Drama
Christopher Russel Reaske states that drama is different from other literary work.
Its medium is dialogue and action of the characters on the stage, or in other words,
drama is designed to be acted on the stage (Reaske, 1966: 55).
Reaske’s argument on drama is elaborated more by Richard Abrican, Marvin
Colts and Peter Richardson who write that drama
is fundamentally different from other literary forms. Unlike fiction, for
example, most plays are designed to be performed in public, not read in
private. The word drama itself is derived from Greek word for action, deed or
performance, and theater derives from Greek word for sight or
contemplation. By their nature, plays are more spectacular than poems or
works of fiction. Dramatist use words as starting points for, rather than
realizations of, their artistic visions ( Abrican et all,1988: 17).
With the reference to idea previously, it is known that drama originates from
Greek. It gains specialty from its performance. Language plays important role to
reveal the artistic vision of dramatist.

Drama is aimed to be enjoyed by

spectators.
The words drama and play may be interchangeably for some people. Kenny
and Gioia expound the two as follows.
We use drama as a synonym for plays, but the word has several meanings.
Sometimes it refers to one play (“a stirring drama”); or to the work of a
playwright, or dramatist (“Ibsen’s drama”); or perhaps to a body of plays
written in a particular time or place (“Elizabethan drama,” “French drama of
the seventeenth century”) (Kenny and Gioa, 1988: 196).
Apart from the definition of drama and its synonym with plays, drama falls in
to three categories. A Glossary in Literary Term written by M. H. Abrams clearly
categorizes that as comedy, tragic-comedy and tragedy. Comedy is defined as a

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kind of drama whose intention is to amuse its audience. Tragic-comedy is
described as a type of drama presenting story about upper class and the lower
class. There are serious actions inflicted to the protagonist but the story has the
happy ending. Tragedy is something related to the death of a hero, it involves
story of kings, gods and heroes (Abrams, 1985: 25).
Tragedy in play mostly follows two big concepts that are Greek or
Shakespearian tragedy. A.C Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy argues that Greek
tragedy reveals the gods’ power over the human beings; human beings are not
able to escape from their tragic fate. In contrast to that, Shakespearean tragedy
offers a way for human beings to determine their own lives but choose the wrong
path and leads them to the tragedy of their own (Bradley, 1961: 11).
Many people have plunged themselves to write tragedy and one of
playwrights who writes about tragedy is Wole Soyinka. He is also known as one
of the best African playwrights, who won the noble prize in 1986. Not only
famous as a playwright Soyinka is also popular as a poet and novelist, critic,
editor and translator. His plays are commonly well-known than others of his
works. His multi-talent is described clearly by V.N Manjula retold what Ventaka
K Reddy says in her work A Song for the Road Wole Soyinka’s Imagery and
Tradition.
He is a poet, play Wright, novelist, essayist, critic, editor and translator, all
rolled into one. He is undoubtedly the greatest of contemporary African play
Wrights. He has been hailed as one of the finest poetic playwrights who have
ever written in English. Soyinka has to his credit fifteen plays in which has
made extensive use of Yoruba Mythology (Manjula, 2012: 8).

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Besides his abundant contribution to work of literature, Wole Soyinka is
recorded as an African playwright whose half of study period was spent in
England around 1954-1973. Based on Nobel Prize’s account sited in www.
nobelprize.org, edited by Wilhelm Odelberg, Soyinka spent his six years in
England and became a dramaturgist for Royal Court Theater in London 19581965 (Odelberg, 1987).
As his biography noted in Academy of Achievements written by Brian Blaine
Reynolds in http://www.achievment.org, his close ties between England happened
not merely when he studied in England but since his childhood. He got used to
British religious, political and educational institution. Those experiences he had
were related to the status of Nigeria as a British Empire dominion
(Reynolds, 2013).
One of Soyinka’s outstanding plays, eloquently written that is related to
British life in Nigeria and the concept of Yoruba mythology is Death and the
King’s Horseman. When comprehending Soyinka’s Death and the King’s
Horseman the writer then knows that the play is regarded as a tragic play, in
which the hero dies tragically at the end of the story. Tracing back to the concept
of tragedy; Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, it is doubtless to say that Wole
Soyinka follows those concepts but it is still not known yet which path Soyinka
follows.
When reading Death and the King’s Horseman reviewed by Tanure Ojaide,
the writer starts to put interest in analyzing the play. Ojaide says that it is
necessary for him to call Soyinka as African Shakespeare in order to arouse his

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pupils mind when teaching African drama in America (Ojaide, 1992). He
continues that Soyinka has double heritage of African and Western dramatic
tradition. Soyinka, as Ojaide remarks, is very familiar with Shakespearean drama
because he studied at Leeds under the famous Shakespearean scholars Wilson
Knight,

who

become

his

mentor.

His

argument

can

be

found

at

(http://www.thefreelibrary.com//).
Mirroring in Ojaide’s statement, it is known that in writing tragedy, Soyinka
is well equipped with the knowledge of Shakespearean tragedy. The writer then is
challenged to find the characteristics of Shakespearean tragedy by focusing on the
tragic hero presented in his Death and the King’s Horseman.

B. Problem Formulation
In order to find out Shakespearean tragic hero in Soyinka’s Death and the
King’s Horseman, the problems are formulated as follows.
1. How are the characteristics of the hero presented in the play?
2. How is the plot described in the play?
3. How do the characteristic of hero and the plot of the play reflect the concept of
Shakespearean tragic hero?

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C. Objective of the Study
Based on three problems formulated previously, this study is aimed to
identify the concept of tragic hero as presented in the play Death and the King’s
Horseman.
In the first part of the analysis, the writer tries to analyze the characteristics of
the hero which is described in the play. For the second part of the analysis the
writer tries to analyze the plot of the play and the last part is to find the concept of
Shakespearean tragic hero reflected from plot and characteristics of the hero.

D. Definition of Term
In order to avoid misunderstanding in comprehending this undergraduate
thesis, it is better to know the meaning of the relevant terms namely,
Shakespearean and tragic hero.
1. Shakespearean Tragic hero
Bradley expounds that in the sense of the concept of Shakespearean tragic
hero, a hero is described as a person of high estate or having greatness more than
common man who experiences suffer conducting to his death (Bradley, 1960: 10).
Shakespeare was not attempting to justify the ways of God to men, or to show the
universe as a Divine Comedy like in Greek Tragedy.

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CHAPTER II
THEORETICAL REVIEW
In this chapter the writer leaves some reviews in order to support the analysis.
This chapter consists of the review of related studies, review on related theories,
theory on character, theory on plot, theory on Shakespearean tragedy and
theoretical framework.

A. Review of Related Studies
The play Death and the King’s Horseman, since itsfirst publication in 1975,
has received a lot of criticism, reviews and analysis from various critics and
scholars. Thus, it is crucial for the writer to state some of those analyses in the
brief exposition in order to prove the urgency and the originality of this thesis.
Michael Billington in The Guardian said that the play written by Soyinka
was full of suspense. Death and the King’s Horseman encompassed several issues
such as identity, tradition and the belief of locals about life and death. Moreover
he added that the play was a tragic-comedy, it began with comedy and ended with
a tragedy. His idea is cited as follows.
Wole Soyinka is adamant that his great, neglected 1975 play cannot be
reduced to a study of "the clash of cultures". I see what he means. This rich
turbulent piece, which starts as folk comedy and ends as Greek tragedy, takes
on board an abundance of ideas: identity, tradition, the passage from life to
death(Billington:2009,Thursday 9 April).
Similar to Billington’s idea about Greek tragedy, Iva Gilbertova who did the
research on the Death and the King’s Horseman stated that the genre of the play

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was a combination between Greek and Shakespearean tragedy. The characteristic
of Greek tragedy could be traced in the use of chorus in the play meanwhile the
characteristic of Shakespearean tragedy was mirrored by the use of setting and the
depiction of human being’s happiness and sadness. She also added that Soyinka
projected two leading figures or heroes in his play; Elesin and Olunde:
Death and the King's Horseman is a very powerful tragedy and it seems to
grow from both the tradition of Yoruba tragedy and from ancient drama
and Shakespeare, to quote at least two classical examples of the nonAfrican drama. The market women form a chorus of the Greek kind, only
perhaps more actively entering the action, the praise-singer and, to a
certain extent, Iyaloja play similar, though more individualized roles.
Elesin, of course, is a classical hero and Olunde a more modern one.
Though there is not a perfect unity of place and action, both are in fact
very much centered on the principal dramatic conflict, and the time
observes fully the classical requirement of one day, for all the action takes
place within one evening and night. At the same time, like Shakespeare,
O'Casey and like the African theatre, Soyinka sees life as a constant
mixture of joys and sadness and knows the importance of a comic element
within the grave atmosphere of a play (Gilbertova, 1995: 89).
Gilbertova, as in her previous statement, not only hailed Soyinka because of the
combination of genre he made but also in creation of joy and sadness. For her, the
constant mixture of joy and sadness was one of the important elements of a play.
Bernard Ayo Oniwe also delivered his analysis about the protagonist
character in his thesis entitled; Portrait of Hybrid Tragic Protagonist in Selected
Metaphysical Plays by Wole Soyinka. He argued that Death and the King’s
Horseman was a play in which Soyinka adopted protagonist figure from various
part of the world. He combined mythology of Greek, Jews and Yoruba to create
his protagonist character. Oniwe’s idea is poured in to following paragraph:

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In most of his so-called metaphysical plays, those that are played out
within the Yoruba ritual and mythical worldview, Soyinka appropriates,
reconstitutes and extend limits of the received Western canon's conception
of the tragic hero. Soyinka achieves this literary landmark by creating
tragic heroes via an eclectic mix of features derived from the Western hero
archetypes like Dionysius, Christ as well as Ogun, the Yoruba god who
occupies prominent place among the Yoruba pantheon of gods
(Oniwe: 2009: x).
Besides some critics were focusing on genre, structure of the play and the
concept of protagonist character as previously stated, some criticisms came from
postcolonial

interpretation.

Even

though

th e

writer

does

not

discuss

postcolonialism in this undergraduate thesis, it is important to state some opinions
in order to open the readers’ horizons that this play can be rendered from some
aspects.
In relation to postcolonial criticism, George Olankunle in his Cultural
Criticism in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horsemansaw the play in
different way. He gave a counter criticism to Biodun Jeyfo who employed Marxist
ideological criticism in rendering the play, he argued that
Two general propositions drive Jeyifo's argument: one, that only a marxist
analysis can adequately recover the social problematic at the heart of
Soyinka's drama and, two, that the writer needs explicitly to present "possible
or necessary" choices. In the contemporary critical climate, our tendency
would be to contest both propositions-rightly so. Nonetheless, one does not
have to subscribe to either of them to be able to show that Soyinka's drama
presents "the fundamental conflicts and contradictions in African society."
The crux of the matter might lie in how one construes the very idea of
contradiction (Olakunle, 1999: 69).
Olankule than proposed the theory of postcolonial to unearth the fundamental
conflicts and contradiction in the play. He stated that by exerting the postcolonial

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theory, the play would bring the interpretation about the non-western writing
subverted so called Eurocentric modes of seeing(Olakunle, 1999: 70).
Awam Ampka also gave comment on this play through his Postcolonial
Theatre and the Ethics of Emancipatory Becoming stated that Soyinka’s play was
related to the essence of the ritual itself and as an inspiring writing to dissect
postcolonial study.
…play Death and the King’s Horseman to suggest that Soyinka’s dramatic
practice represents an inspiring and agitated archaeology of postcolonial
cultures. Grounded in the conceptualization of mythic tragedy as a site for
fueling communal consciousness of marginality and desire for change, rather
than as a bastion for consolidating tradition for its own sake, his works
challenge authoritarianism whether derived from colonial or indigenous
sources and enunciate symbolisms of resistance and agency--the birthing, if
not the destination of postcolonial desire(Ampka, 2003: 31).
Ampka, in previous quotation, told that Soyinka’s play became the symbol of
change and as an inspiring work to express postcolonial desire. His play asserted
the idea of changing from both sides whether indigenous or colonial culture
toward the dramatic incident happens in the play. For him, Soyinka demanded a
critical view on practicing a tradition.
Ikfina Maufuriyah contributed her opinion in The Native’s Resistance against
Colonialism in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, she commented
that Soyinka’s play shed lights on the idea of cultural oppression and native
resistance. She then added that “native’s actions were considered as acts of
cultural resistance and had proven that colonialism could not root out the custom
which had been well established in Yoruba community.”
When doing her undergraduate thesis, Maufuriyah quoted Evan Paul Gold
Smith’s review on the play Death and the King’s Horseman. Gold Smith idea was

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that the play had a similarity to the play of Shakespeare and Sophocles which
Elesin’s proud contributed to his own destruction (Maufuriyah, 2005: 8).
In

reflection to scholars and researchers’ arguments previously, the

writerlearns that it is a good achievement in a literary practice that a piece of
literary work particularlyDeath and the King’s Horseman is criticized from
various aspects. Those people have given a lot of contribution to construct readers
understanding when rendering the play but there is one thing that writer wants to
propose which makes this undergraduate thesis differs from those studies.
The differences of this undergraduate thesis with above studies are; firstly this
undergraduate thesis excludes both idea of native’s resistance toward the
oppression from westerners and the effect of colonialism toward African culture.
Despite some scholars pay their attention more in the issue on clash of culture and
postcolonialism, the writer in this study tries to see the play in the different angle.
This undergraduate thesis tries to reveal the concept of tragic hero presented by
Wole Soyinka.
Secondly, In relation to the Smith’s and Gilbertova’s idea about genre of
drama (Shakespearean and Greek), the writer chooses to use Shakespearean
concept of tragic hero instead of Sophoclean concepts which follows the idea of
Greek tragic hero.
Thirdly, this undergraduate thesis does not corporate the discussion on mixing
hero’s characteristic such as Christ, Dionysius or Ogun in Yoruba mythology as in
Oniwe’s writing.

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B. Review on Related Theories
In working this study, there are several theories needed to support the
accuracy of the analysis. The theories cover the theory on character, theory on plot
and the theory on Shakespearean tragic hero.

1. Theory on character and characterization
Abrams states that characters are the person presented in a dramatic or
narrative work who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with moral and
dispositional qualities that are expressed in what they say and what they do.
(Abrams, 1985:20).
Similar to Abrams, Christopher Reaske in How to Analyze Drama, argues
that a character is the fictitious creation of person presented in the dramatic or
narrative work that can be interpreted through the combination of the dialogue and
action expressed (Reaske,1966: 40). He continues that there are six devices of
characterization such as the appearances of the character, asides and soliloquies,
dialogue between characters, hidden narration, language, and character in action
(Reaske, 1966: 44-48).
A brief explanation can be found in Chris Baldick’s argument. He argues in
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Term that character is a person, in a
narrative

or

dramatic

work.

Itis

different

from

the

characterization.

Characterization is the way in which character is presented. Therefore, a character
is the result while the characterization is process (Baldick, 1981:83).

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Milly S. Barranger in Understanding Plays Second Edition, (1994: 339) states
that “in drama, characters are traditionally defined by their physical
characteristics, speech, and dress; their socioeconomic status; their psychological
makeup; and their moral and ethical choices.” She explains that there are four
ways to approach understanding drama’s characters; first, observing what
playwrights say about them in stage directions and, second, hearing or reading
what characters say about one another in dialogue, third, noticing general types
such as physical and psychological and fourth, construing the moral or ethical
choices that determine their destinies.
Sylvan Barnet (1988:172) in Literature for composition: Essay, Fiction,
Poetry and Drama, explains that the way to understand the characteristic of a
character through.
a.

What the character or figure says
How the characters says will help the readers interpret her/ his
characteristics.

b.

What the character does or acts
The readers can learn the attitudes or behavior of a character and they
may guess how actually the author creates the character.

c.

What others say about the character

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A character interacts with other characters. They share their opinion and
give comments about that character. Such comment and opinion may
reflect the characteristic of the character.

2. Theory on plot
To reveal the issues on the play Death and the King’s Horseman, it is
necessary for the writer to employ theory on plot. Richard Gill in Mastering
English Literature states that “a plot can be defined as the order of events in
which the reader learns of them” (Gill, 1995: 165). Plot is an essential part which
constitutes consecutive events in the story and shows the description of characters
and how they act. It is made by cause and effect.
In relation to Gill’s idea,the writer thinks that it becomes an importantpartin
this research to exert Shakespearean plot because the writer identifies
characteristics of Shakespearean tragic hero in the play. The writer employs
Bradley’s argumentations about Shakespearean tragic plot. He states that the plot
in the tragedy roughly can be divided in to three; exposition, conflict and
catastrophe (Bradley, 1991:40). About those three, Bradley explains that
exposition expounds the situation of state or affair from which conflict arises.
Besides that it introduces the world of persons; their position, their circumstances,
their relation to one another, and something of theirs characters. It also describes
the situation which threatens conflict but not one of conflicts (Bradley, 1991:41).
Conflict, for Bradley, has its beginning, growth and the vicissitudes before it
goes to catastrophe. Conflict embraces the second, third, four acts and the initial

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part of fifth act. There is two big scenarios in Shakespeare’s conflict that affecting
the end of the story. First scenario describes the fortunate situation of hero,
Bradley identifies this as A. The second

scene, identified as B, describes the

difficult position of the hero. At this stance, the villain takes over the situation
until the last moment of the defeat of the hero.
Let us for the sake of brevity call the two sides in the conflict A and B. Now,
usually, as we shall see presently, through a considerable part of the play,
perhaps the first half, the cause of A is, on the whole, advancing; and through
the remaining part it is retiring, while that of B advances in turn underlying
this broad movement, all through the conflict we shall find a regular
alternation of smaller advances and retirals; first A seeming to win some
ground, and then the counter-action of B being shown. And since we always
more or less decidedly prefer A to B or B to A, the result of this oscillating
movement is a constant alternation of hope and fear, or rather of a mixed state
predominantly
hopeful
and
a
mixed
state
predominantly
apprehensive(Bradley, 1991: 50).
To qualify about the Shakespeare’s construction about A and B, Bradley
gives the example story of Hamlet.Hamlet’s conflict stat at hero’s feigning to be
insane from disappointment of love and he successfully convinces Polonius.
Bradleypoints this as advance of A. The next scene depicts the King's great
uneasiness about Hamlet's melancholy, and his skepticism as to Polonius's
explanation of its cause: advance of B. Hamlet completely baffles Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern, who have been sent to discover his secret, and he arranges for
the test of the play-scene: advance of A. king decides to then send Hamlet to
England because of unconvincing story about his strange behavior. Hamlet story
of love does not affect his strange behavior. Bradley says this asAdvance of B. He
argues that there are some oscillating scenes between A and B until catastrophe
where the hero perishes (Bradley, 1991: 51).

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Bradley’s argument about structure of a tragedy does not finish at those three.
As he explains the conflict, Bradley says that there is a critical point in the action
called crisis. Crisis does not last long but it is essential to show the top point of the
conflict which hero in one side and villain in the other. After crisis there is a
declining point of action towards catastrophe. Bradley’s argument is depicted
through the followings.
…Crisis, as a rule, comes somewhere near the middle of the play; and where
it is well marked it has the effect, as to construction, of dividing the play into
five parts instead of three; these parts showing(1) a situation not yet one of
conflict, (2) the rise and development of the conflict, in which A or B
advances on the whole till it reaches (3) the Crisis, on which follows (4) the
decline of A or B towards (5) the Catastrophe (Bradley, 1991:52).
To conclude, the division of plot based on Bradley’s notion previously,
Shakespearean tragedy has five parts as a whole. They are; exposition, conflict,
crisis, decline or falling action and the catastrophe.
When explain the catastrophe or fallen of the hero, Bradley says that “In
several plays Shakespeare makes an appeal which in his own time was evidently
powerful: he introduces scenes of battle.” But he continues that battle is not the
most interesting scene to expose the tragic character because some of heroes such
as Brutus, Cassius, Othello and Anthony do no die fighting but still in their defeat
there is sympathy and admiration (Bradley, 1991: 63).

3. Theory on Shakespearean Tragic Hero

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Shakespearean tragedy concerns with one person or at most two which later
they become the hero and the heroine. The concept of hero and heroine, who
lastly end in tragedy, directly creates the concept of tragic hero. Bradley argues
that Shakespearean tragedy is not a general tragedy, which may happen to
common people but it deals with a man who has a high status, public importance
or a person who is placed above common man. The hero in Shakespearean
tragedy is described as someone strong, powerful, and has certain authority. The
story presents the death of a hero caused by exceptional calamity
(Bradley,1961:3).
The death of a hero also is led by conflicts. Conflicts happen are caused by
man him self, or sometimes the conflict is in the soul of the hero. Some errors or
mistakes done, usually called as tragic flaw, that the hero has a fatal deed that he
could not control it anymore. His downfall affects the welfare of the whole
nation or the empire (Bradley, 1961: 10).
According to the Bradley (1961:13-16) Shakespearean tragic heroes have
several characteristics they are:
(1) A High Degree and Admirable Person.

The hero in Shakespearean tragedy is not a common man but a person
of high degree, having specialties in the character and admired by many
people.Bradley argues that a tale, for example, of a man slowly worn to
death by disease, poverty, little cares, sordid vices, petty persecutions,
however piteous or dreadful it might be, would not be tragic in the
Shakespearean sense.Tragedy with Shakespeare is concerned always

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with persons of 'high degree' ; often with kings or princes; if not, with
leaders in the state like Coriolanus, Brutus, Antony; at the least, as in
Romeo and Juliet, with members of great houses, whose quarrels are of
public moment (Bradley, 1991:8).
(2) Complex Characteristics; More than Good or Evil.
His characteristics are confusing more than good or evil.Shakespearean
tragedy will not hide the imperfection of a man manifested in hero’s
attitudes. The imperfection leads the hero to his own fall.
We find that the comparatively innocent hero still shows some
marked imperfection or defect,—irresolution, precipitancy,
pride, credulousness, excessive simplicity, excessive
susceptibility to sexual emotions, and the like. These defects or
imperfections are certainly, in the wide sense of the word, evil,
and they contribute decisively to the conflict and
catastrophe.(Bradley, 1991:34-35).
The imperfection lying in the soul of a hero is a natural thing in
Shakespearean tragedy. In this sense, Shakespeare reveals the trait of
imperfection human being as in the real life.
(3) Supernatural Elements.
Supernatural elements such as ghost and witches who have supernatural
knowledge. This supernatural is always placed in the closest relation
with character. Shakespeare also introduces the supernatural into some
of his tragedies; he introduces ghosts, and witches who have
supernatural knowledge. And further, it does contribute to the action
(Bradley, 1991:13).
(4) The Appearance of Chance or Accident.

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The appearance of chance or accident as an appreciable influence at
some point in the action which brings into a tragedy.“Shakespeare, in
most of his tragedies allows to 'chance' or 'accident' an appreciable
influence at some point in the action. Chance or accident here will be
found, I think, to mean any occurrence (not supernatural, of course)
which enters the dramatic sequence neither from the agency of a
character,

nor

from

(Bradley,1991:14).

the

obvious

surrounding

circumstances”

Bradley states that accident is fact happens in

human’s life.He later gives some example such as Romeo never got the
Friar's message about the potion, and that Juliet did not awake from her
long sleep a minute sooner; an accident that Edgar arrived at the prison
just too late to save Cordelia's life; an accident that Desdemona dropped
her handkerchief at the most fatal of moments; an accident that the
pirate ship attacked Hamlet's ship, so that he was able to return
forthwith to Denmark (Bradley, 1991:15).
(5) The Exceptional Being.
He is also an exceptional being differ from other common man not only
because his degree but also his particular sufferings.The suffering and
calamity are, moreover, exceptional. They befall a conspicuous person.
They are themselves of some striking kind. They are also, as a rule,
unexpected, and contrasted with previous happiness or glory (Bradley,
1991:19).
(6) Pity and admiration.

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He is not completely a good person of far from being good but there is
some greatness in him until last moment when he wins our pity and
admiration.Inline with this idea, Bradley comments that “Such
exceptional suffering and calamity, then, affecting the hero, and—we
must now add—generally extending far and wide beyond him, so as to
make the whole scene a scene of woe, are an essential ingredient in
tragedy and a chief source of the tragic emotions, and especially of
pity”. For him, the proportions of this ingredient, and the direction
taken by tragic pity, will naturally vary greatly. Pity, explained Bradley,
has a much larger part in King Lear than in Macbeth, and is directed in
the one case chiefly to the hero, in the other chiefly to minor characters
(Bradley, 1991: 8). In here, the writer spot that the pity strikes readers
attention concerning to the calamity befall unto major character and
minors characters.
(7) Fate and Welfare of Nation or Empire.
His fate affects the welfare of a whole nation or empire. It is
understandable that the death of a hero influence the sustainability of a
nation or empire because Shakespearean tragedy embodies the figure of
high degree in one state or country. Bradley declares that the fall of a
hero suddenly from the height of earthly greatness to the dust, produces
a sense of contrast, of the powerlessness of man, and of the
omnipotence. Shakespeare’s style of drama is the greatest according to
Bradley’s opinion. He adds that the story of fortune or fate in

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Shakespearean sense possibly has no rival especially instory about
private life (Bradley, 1991:10).
C. Theoretical Framework
In this part the writerdiscussesbriefly the theories applied in the analysis. The
reviews taken from internet and library are used to compare writer studies to some
of other studies. This is to fulfill the academic requirements to make a study
original and urgent.
The theory of character and characterization and plot are used to analyze the
character regarded as a hero in the play, as stated in the first and the second
questions in problem formulation. In answering the third question, the theory on
Shakespearean tragedy is applied to match the hero presented on the play with the
idea of Shakespearean tragedy seen from characteristics of the hero and plot of the
play.

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CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY

A. Object of T

Dokumen baru

PENGARUH PENERAPAN MODEL DISKUSI TERHADAP KEMAMPUAN TES LISAN SISWA PADA MATA PELAJARAN ALQUR’AN HADIS DI MADRASAH TSANAWIYAH NEGERI TUNGGANGRI KALIDAWIR TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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PENGARUH PENERAPAN MODEL DISKUSI TERHADAP KEMAMPUAN TES LISAN SISWA PADA MATA PELAJARAN ALQUR’AN HADIS DI MADRASAH TSANAWIYAH NEGERI TUNGGANGRI KALIDAWIR TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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PENGARUH PENERAPAN MODEL DISKUSI TERHADAP KEMAMPUAN TES LISAN SISWA PADA MATA PELAJARAN ALQUR’AN HADIS DI MADRASAH TSANAWIYAH NEGERI TUNGGANGRI KALIDAWIR TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

40 945 23

PENGARUH PENERAPAN MODEL DISKUSI TERHADAP KEMAMPUAN TES LISAN SISWA PADA MATA PELAJARAN ALQUR’AN HADIS DI MADRASAH TSANAWIYAH NEGERI TUNGGANGRI KALIDAWIR TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

21 632 24

PENGARUH PENERAPAN MODEL DISKUSI TERHADAP KEMAMPUAN TES LISAN SISWA PADA MATA PELAJARAN ALQUR’AN HADIS DI MADRASAH TSANAWIYAH NEGERI TUNGGANGRI KALIDAWIR TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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KREATIVITAS GURU DALAM MENGGUNAKAN SUMBER BELAJAR UNTUK MENINGKATKAN KUALITAS PEMBELAJARAN PENDIDIKAN AGAMA ISLAM DI SMPN 2 NGANTRU TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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KREATIVITAS GURU DALAM MENGGUNAKAN SUMBER BELAJAR UNTUK MENINGKATKAN KUALITAS PEMBELAJARAN PENDIDIKAN AGAMA ISLAM DI SMPN 2 NGANTRU TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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KREATIVITAS GURU DALAM MENGGUNAKAN SUMBER BELAJAR UNTUK MENINGKATKAN KUALITAS PEMBELAJARAN PENDIDIKAN AGAMA ISLAM DI SMPN 2 NGANTRU TULUNGAGUNG Institutional Repository of IAIN Tulungagung

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