Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Faculty of Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria
This article adopts a mythic reading of Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun and No More the Wasted Breed, both written in 1982 and 2002 respectively, in order to interpret how the concept of the ‘saviour hero’ is altered and subverted in the plays. The subversion manifests in the plays such that heroism changes from its common mythological and philosophical concept as a salvaging/sacrificial task undertaken for all by an extraordinary individual to one which is collective, collaborative and mass oriented. The paper argues that, in the worlds of the selected Osofisan’s plays, the latter concept is the one foregrounded as significant, functional, altruistic and more consistent with contemporary and pervasive sociopolitical and socioeconomic realities than the latter. The mythic critical approach adopted here attempts to align with Ernst Cassirer’s notion of mythological resources in texts of literature as modes of human perception and expression serving both rhetorical and humanistic purposes. The paper affirms that the altered concept of heroism in Osofisan’s two plays is motivated by a radical ideology which identifies anomalies such as inherent human failings, cultural prejudices, leadership failure, oppressive structures and other anti-progressive elements in Africa’s historical and socio-political experiences as the bane of its economic and technological progress. It concludes that the playwright’s suggestion as implied in the plays’ sub-texts that Africa’s problem can be overcome through humanistic evolution towards an egalitarian and compassionate society is only attainable through mass effort (collective sacrifice) to consciously change their defective value system.