n Institute of African Studies Research Review - 21st century image of women : a womanist reading of two Nigerian plays

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



In the Nigerian theatre, more female playwrights are emerging to question the invisibility and negative female stereotypes that have characterized the works of many Nigerian male dramatists. They are beginning to challenge the male -centric approach of the hitherto patriarchal domain. This study examines the seminal efforts of two female playwrights, Foluke Adesina and Chima Utoh. The two plays for analysis are: <I>A Nest in a Cage&lt;/I&gt; by Foluke Adesina and <I>Who Owns this Coffin?&lt;/I&gt; by Chima Utoh. The main preoccupation of this work is the critical analysis of the image of the twenty-first century Nigerian woman. This article focuses on the selected playwrights as Womanists, who are engaged in the process of constructing icons and symbols for African and Nigerian women. We also discuss, among other things, the process of providing examples for African and Nigerian women's self expression and self-identification. We adopt the position that womanism does not shy away from reality; consequently, the study examines the various types of female characters- the good, the bad, and the ugly, within the society as presented in the plays. The bad and the ugly are presented as results of patriarchal social structures and individual pathologies. This discourse is predicated on the view that Womanist poetics is a way of 'raising the consciousness of women, sensitizing and conscientizing them in order to enhance their involvement in all areas of society without any inhibition'.

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