Literary Devices in The Blood of a Stranger

Dramatic or literary Devices in The Blood of a Stranger

The use of Irony in The Blood of a Stranger

Dele Charley uses irony richly in the play for dramatic effectiveness. Maligu the most educated in the community and a wise one complains that Soko puts “too many obstacles on the way” and Soko replies that “the obstacles have been in the way all the time. I only warn you do not fall over them in your blindness” (24-25). It is ironical the wise one is perceived as blind. Indeed, Maligu is blind to the mischievous intentions of Whitehead until very much later in the play. Another incidence of irony
is when soko chooses wara, Kindo’s woman, for virgin sacrifice, him fire and will you ifyou touch Wara” (45). t is ironical that in the end Soko is consumed by his own sacrificial fire. King Santigi and Whitehead argue over the relevance of virgin sacrifice which he is not used to in his homeland. The king him that to “shed the blood of a stranger just one life, not the blood educates Whitehead of a goat (87) as instructed by the spirits to secure peace for multitudes is not out of place. then asks, “My man and I are strangers. Why did you not choose one of us?” (87). Here, Whitehead foretold the future without knowing it, for he becomes the stranger whose blood is shed on the sacrifice stone, which is the highpoint of an ill-meditated ritual orgy. This is a very poignant irony in the play and this is probably what informs the title of the play too. man who uses all his energy
Kindo’s banishment for killing Parker is another irony. This is a only comelude
wit to defend Mando customs but ends up a victim of that which he protects. Kindo can that “Mando land is danger” (99).

The use of symbolism and iconography in The Blood of a Stranger

symbolism and iconography
symbolism is the use of something abstract to represent something concrete, lt is the artistic method of revealing ideas or truths through the use of symbols; it seeks to evoke, rather than describe, ideas or feelings through the use of symbolic images. The most prominent and engaging symbol in the play is blood. Blood is projected as a symbol of wisdom and strength, life giver and sustenance, and peace. Blood is a symbol of wisdom and stiength, for at the communal gathering at the shrine, Soko says “The monkey is wise. The leopard is strong. Their blood for kings and great warriors” (36). The king and Maligu drink the blood as a symbolic emphasis of their great wisdom and strength. The king captures blood as life giver and sustenance, and symbol of peace this way:

SANTIGI: Spirits of kings! Spirits of warriors! Spirits on the mountain! Your blood flows to give us life. Your blood flows through our bodies. Your blood flowed to give us peace, We give you blood so that you can give us more peace. (37)

Soko adds that “We gave our blood for peace. We gave our lives for our children if peace throw more blood. The blood of a virgin, born in another place” (38). Blood as used in these contexts becomes a mediating channel between man and the spirits, and therefore a strong image of our existence as human beings. Of a truth, we all survive on blood, there is no life without blood. To secure peace, blood is often shed and this is the language the spirits of Mandoland seem to understand. Kindo wants peace for his land too and since he has no means of verifying he believes Soko that spirits ask for the blood of a virgin. The intended stranger virgin for the sacrifice, Wara, leaves the community and no other stranger in their midst but Whitehead. Kindo capitalizes on that te ask bis men to take Whitebead
to the sacrifice stone and calls on the spirits to accept him as a credible alternative

KINDO. Spirits of our forefathers! Spirits on the mountain look down from your home up there and receive the blood, which you asked for through the mouth of your priest. There is no virgin in the land who is a stranger so receive the blood of a stranger who brought evil to the land.(102)
In all of these, horn and sword become ritual tools and the icons of the quest for peace; sword for cutting sacrificial animals for blood and hom for drinking the blood (36 and 37), while drumming is used as a symbol of communal cohesion (26, 33, 36, 37, 55, 94, 97). We also have the symbolic use of dances to suggest the occupational sources of the presents the people bring to honour King Santigi, especially hunting, farming and fishing occupations (55)

The use of Incantations, music and dance in The Blood of a Stranger

Incantations, music and dance
The ritual colouration of this drama necessitates rich use of incantations and dance most especially, Even though we are not given the contents of the incantations, they are expected to be drawn from the cultural milieu of Sierra Leone and also have direct relevance to the dramatic context of utility. In the play, there is integrated use of these three artistic elements; incantations, drumming and dance occur concurrently most times. For instance, we are told that at the communal gathering at the shrine after some ritual observances, “drumming starts again and Soko starts an incantation. He starts to dance and the attendants join him. At the end, he assumes trance-like pose” (37-38). By this, we can infer the functionality of these three elements of incantation, drumming and dance, which is to facilitate the transportation of the priest to a higher plane to commune with the spirits on behalf of the people Besides these, we also have a group of men singing, dancing and drinking which expresses the social use of music and dance in Mandoland (71)

About the Playwright Caleb Ayodele “Dele” Charley

Caleb Ayodele “Dele” Charley (27 March 1948, Freetown 8 May 1993, Freetown) was Sierra Leonean writer and playwright in English and Krio language. He studied in Freetown and London and worked for the Ministry of Education. His play, The Blood of a stranger, was Sierra Leone’s entry to the African Festival of Arts (FESTAC) held in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. The Blood of a Stranger is the late dramatist’s best play and is perhaps the most dramatized play in the last half century in Freetown. Dele Charley who also wrote several plays in Krio and Krio adaptations of some of the of Shakespeare, remains the most celebrated artist in Sierra Leone and is seen as the father of modern theatre in that country, because his theatre group, the popular Tabule Theatre, birthed many of the artists who later founded notable groups, such as Shegureh Players, Kailondo Tiata, Ronko Theatre, Kakua Players, Freetown Players, and Spence Productions. Many restless youths hung out at Dele Charley’s house and he helped them realize their dreams to start a social club a competition organized by the Ministry of Tourism in 1975 in Sierra Leone, Dele Charley won the award for Best Play with The Blood of a Stranger Storytelling was arobust tradition in Sierra Leone and had a telling significance in that society because of their pedagogical contents. In Central Freetown, Dele Charley through his Tabule Experimen Theatre presented improvisational performances regularly at the Victoria Park, accompanied
with deep ingredients of music and dance. These were based on ordinary tales transformed into improvised acts not only to entertain but to teach. The Freetown Players with Charley Haffner, Yulisa Amadu Maddy’s Gbakanda Tiata, John Kolosa Kargbo, and Raymond De Souza-George were also part of the tradition of transforming stories into actual performances on stage or in street corners. It is however widely acclaimed that theatre as a positive developmental force began in the 1970s in Sierra Leone with Raymond Dele Charley. His political theatre under censorship was not by bluntly attacking the government but by animating the community to dance and share their joy, grief, hopes and frustrations giving them a sense of pride and self-esteem.

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