Monday, 8 April 2013



The Kadiye, the religious figure in Wole Soyinka’s Swamp Dwellers, is masterfully portrayed and is very covincing.Kadiye is portrayed in this drama as the main priest of the swamp dwellers. Though he is a priest by his profession, he is anything but pious. He is essentially a corrupt and self-centered person. But Kadiye is not the sole example of his type. There are many Kadiye in every part of the world. There are some hypocrites who trade religion and live on it. This typical feature of Kadiye makes him more convincing.

The physical feature of Kadiye indicates that he is more like a villain than to be a religious person. He is fat like a blood-swollen insect. He is a monstrous looking person. He is described as ’a big, voluminous creature of about fifty.’ He is smooth-faced and his head is shaved clean. He is bare above the waist and at least half of his fingers are ringed. This physical look suggests something ugly about his moral nature. Kadiye is very rich and has a good control over the swamp like a Godfather featured in the western films. Kadiye destroys people wearing the mask of religion.

The Kadiye betrays the trust of the villagers by encouraging them to indulge in meaningless cult. The Kadiye is the priest of the Serpent. The villagers give of their harvest to the Kadiye so he can appease the serpent. No one questions where the goods go, because it is almost blasphemous to do so. But it seems that the dramatist is very critical to the Kadiye and Kadiye’s real nature is exposed through the confrontation between the Kadiye and Gweru. The protagonist of the play, Igwezu, an ideal son of the Swamps who is loyal to tradition, has performed all the necessary rites required by the deity to ensure a good harvest and a happy life with his wife. The impotence of this god gradually creeps into his awareness from several inexplicable mishaps that confront him, both in the city and the Swamps.

In his short stay in the city to try his hands at making money, his twin brother, Awuchike, seduces his wife, contrary to the spiritual values of the Swamp. Much frustrating, he fails in his commercial enterprise.Igwezu's tragedy is more severe when he returns to the Swamps with the hope of recovering from his despair by harvesting his crops. But he discovers with utter disappointment and disbelief that the floods had ruined his farm and "the beans and the corn had made an everlasting pottage with the mud.’

The Kadiye, thus trapped and humiliated, leaves the scene threatening blood. But Igwezu’s   mind is now open. He has emancipated himself from the manacles of deceit, realizing in a consolatory stand. "I know that we can appease the Serpent of the Swamps and kiss the Kadiye's feet, but the vapors will still rise and corrupt the tassels of the corn”. Thus through the disillusionment of Igwezu the dramatist also exposes the real nature of the Kadiye. But due to the Kadiye’s threat Igwezu has to leave the village. In this way the Kadiye brings the final tragedy to Igwezu’s life.

The Kadiye is dramatized as a very convincing character. Though the Kadiye is portrayed in a Nigerian setting, but he can be transported to an Indian village, Bangladeshi or Irish village where the religious Sadhus exploit the general people in the name of religion.

The Swamp Dwellers is almost far removed from the themes of colonial rule and the culture clash characteristic of most plays. The play which was staged by the National Troupe/National Theatre and directed by Nick Monu, an alumnus of the American University Washington D.C and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts London, assesses the lives of the inhabitants of swamps.

Symbolism is used in The Swamp Dwellers for the revolutionary conscientisation of a people who are dwelling pious. He portrayed as a corrupt and self-centered person. But Kadiye is not the sole example of his type.

Soyinka places emphasis on the symbolism in nature right from the beginning of the play. And the characters talk about how the rains have washed away their farm crops and the blind stranger talks about a severe drought in the north.       

The play also exposes religious hypocrisy in the character of the Kadiye. The Kadiye is the religious figure in Wole Soyinka’s The Swamp Dwellers, is masterfully portrayed and is very convincing. Kadiye is portrayed in this drama as the main priest of the swamp dwellers.

The physical feature of Kadiye indicates that he is more like a villain than to be a religious person. He is fat like a blood-swollen insect. He is a monstrous looking person. He is described as ’a big, voluminous creature of about fifty.’ He is smooth-faced and his head is shaved clean. He is bare above the waist and at least half of his fingers are ringed. This physical look suggests something ugly about his moral nature. Kadiye is very rich and has a good control over the swamp like a Godfather featured in the western films. Kadiye destroys people wearing the mask of religion.

The Kadiye betrays the trust of the villagers by encouraging them to indulge in meaningless cults which are profitable. The villagers give of their harvest to the Kadiye so he can appease the serpent but unknown to them he is feeding fat on their sweat. No one questions where the goods go, because it is almost blasphemous to do so. But it seems that the dramatist is very critical to the Kadiye and Kadiye’s real nature is exposed through the confrontation between the Kadiye and Igwezu.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! JItendra, you gave a very good content and quite relevant content to Kadiye's character... nice one, keep it up....

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