Nov 25, Eric rated it really liked it This review focuses primarily on 'Trials of Brother Jero' Wole Soyinka - the very first African to win the Nobel Award for Literature; one of the greatest playwrights the world has ever seen, a fecund, tantalising writer.
The play was first published in Nigeria in and by Oxford University Press in It is available from the same publisher as one of five plays in Soyinka's Collected Plays 2. The Trials of Brother Jero is a light satiric comedy that takes aim at religious hypocrisy in the form of a charlatan, or fraud, named Brother Jero, who preaches to his followers on Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria.
Jero is a master of manipulation and keeps his followers in a subservient position because he understands what they long for—money, social status, and power—and convinces them that they will soon be able to fulfill these materialistic desires.
For their part, they are gullible enough to believe him. The vitality of the rogue Jero makes him a popular figure with audiences, and this rambunctious, humorous play is one of the best-known and most frequently performed of Soyinka's early works.
Born into the Yoruba tribe, he was the son of Ayo and Eniola Soyinka; his father was a headmaster of a school established by the British.
At the time, Nigeria was under British rule. Soyinka attended the University of Ibadan and continued his education at the University of Leeds, England. He graduated with honors, with a bachelor of arts degree in English in and then spent over a year as a play reader at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Returning to Nigeria injust after Nigeria became independent, Soyinka's career as a dramatist flourished.
He established a reputation for blending Yoruba influences with Western dramatic styles. He founded theater groups and produced and acted in his own plays. Soyinka's first novel was The Interpreters During the s, in addition to holding various teaching positions at universities in Nigeria, Soyinka was also a political activist, working to combat government corruption and censorship.
When a civil war broke out inSoyinka was arrested and imprisoned for more than two years, spending fifteen months in solitary confinement. Several of his writings were influenced by this period of imprisonment, including the play Madmen and Specialists ; a poetry collection, A Shuttle in the Crypt ; and a novel, Season of Anomy After his release inSoyinka went into exile for six years, living in Ghana, England, and the United States.
His plays Jero's MetamorphosesThe Bacchae of Euripides —an adaptation of Euripides' work and one of Soyinka's best-known plays—and Death and the King's Horseman date from this period. Soyinka returned to Nigeria in and remained politically active.
He spoke out against repression under the military government that ruled Nigeria from to During this period, Soyinka was professor of comparative literature and dramatic arts at the University of Ife; he was also a visiting professor at Yale University and the University of Ghana.
Inanother of his most popular plays, A Play of Giants, was produced, and inSoyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African writer to receive this award.
InSoyinka was accused of treason by the Nigerian military government, and he once again went into exile, traveling and lecturing in Europe and the United States. He returned to Nigeria inwhere a new government was promising to release political prisoners and hold elections.
In the spotlight is the main character, Brother Jeroboam, who speaks directly to the audience. He identifies himself as a prophet, by which he means preacher. He has been a prophet for a long time, he says. His parents thought he was ideally suited to such a role because of his long, thick hair.
He enjoys his work, which comes naturally to him. Then he reveals that in recent years, many preachers have taken to the local beach Bar Beach, Lagos to preach and attract converts, and there is aggressive competition among them for available space.
The Town Council had to go to the beach to settle the disputes and allocate a territory to each preacher.
Jeroboam helped a preacher he refers to as his Master gain a large portion of the beach, although he admits he was only doing so because he thought it would work to his own advantage.
Jero then goes on to say that there are few worshippers coming to the beach these days. Many people prefer to stay at home and watch television. He tells the audience that his purpose is to tell them about the events of one particular day in his life, which disturbed him.
He also mentions how he was cursed by his Master. He is interrupted by the sudden appearance of his Master, Old Prophet, who reprises his original curse, accusing Jero of having driven him off his piece of land on the beach.Other articles where The Trials of Brother Jero is discussed: Wole Soyinka: credulity of their parishioners in The Trials of Brother Jero (performed ; published ) and Jero’s Metamorphosis ().
But his more serious plays, such as The Strong Breed (), Kongi’s Harvest (opened the first Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, ; published ), The Road (), From Zia, with.
Study Guide for The Trials of Brother Jero The Trials of Brother Jero study guide contains a biography of Wole Soyinka, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Other articles where The Trials of Brother Jero is discussed: Wole Soyinka: credulity of their parishioners in The Trials of Brother Jero (performed ; published ) and Jero. trial of brother jero essay ANALYSIS OF “THE TRIALS OF BROTHER JERO ” Soyinka captures worldwide issues by using a West African setting.
The satirical message in the text is conveyed through ridiculing of the vice and follies of the contemporary Nigeria society via religious institution. The Brother Jero plays portray the problem of many African societies which have fallen to religion as a way out of their problems, only to be exploited by dubious and unscrupulous 'prophets' who know their weakness.
Soyinka artistically avoids the criminalisation of Bro Jeroboam -he dupes even the timberdesignmag.coms: 1. Soyinka's The Trials of Brother Jero is the first of his three “Jero” plays.
The play is a farce that focuses on four characters (Jero, Chume, Amope, and a Member of Parliament) over five scenes. The main character, Jero, is a beach prophet who makes his way by prophesying the futures of other working class people in the vicinity.