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46. Women Opression As Seen In The Ambivalent Attitudes Of The Yoruba Society In Wole Soyinka`S The Death And King`S Horseman.

Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman which was published back in 1975 tells a story about a true event during the British colonialization. The issue brought in this research concerns the story lines of the play that exhibit the life of the women in Yoruba culture. Uniquely, not like other patriarchal cultures, the women in Yoruba culture had a complex situation. The complexity in the play leads to several ambivalent attitudes towards women. The researcher then aims to analyze what the effect of the ambivalent attitude towards women whether it will put women in neutral position or put women in miserable condition.
In order to find the answer, the analysis is divided based on three research problems. The first problem is to analyze the characteristics of each character involved in the issue. The second is to understand what the ambivalent attitudes the women face in the play. The third problem is to understand how the ambivalent attitudes play their role in oppressing women in Yoruba Society. The approach of feminism is used to analyze the problems formulated. The first step is to do close readings in order to understand each character well. The second step is to find the interaction between the male and women characters. The last step is to make the analysis and conclusion based on the interaction in the play.
The result of the analysis shows that the complex views of women in the Yoruba Society which cause several ambivalent attitudes done by Elesin end up as oppressions for the female characters. Three problems are answered in this chapter. On the first problem, Elesin is portrayed as an honored, inconsistent, and arrogant person; Iyaloja as an obedient, traditional, honored, and powerful woman; the women of the market as obedient and brave; the bride as obedient. In answering the second and third problem, the analysis is divided into three parts: Iyaloja, the women of the market and the bride. It is found in the second problem that Iyaloja gets power abuse and her opinion is ignored. However in the other side, she is given position in the hierarchy. The women of the market are given negative stereotypes but also seen as mothers; honored and important figures. The bride is praised as an important and honored figured in the end but her right to choose is limited. In the last problem it is found that the positive attitudes the female characters get in fact are just another form of benevolent oppressions. Iyaloja’s position as mother of the market forces her to follow the rules that favor men. The women of the market are obliged to have sons and responsible for their future. The bride is praised after the marriage but before the marriage she is seen as an unimportant figure.
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