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Death and the Kings Horseman Giving up the Battle From the Western perspective it is hard to understand ritual suicide as anything positive or helpful to the living There almost seems to be no Western equivalent to the duty of Elesin in Death and the Kings Horseman However Wole Soyinka gives us a comparable situation in Janes description of a captain blowing up a ship to save the people on the shore Its a moment of hypocrisy on Britains part both trying to prevent Elesins suicide and lauding a Western suicide which purports to do the exact same thing - save the living from destruction Its also clear that Olunde sees this ridiculous parallel but he does not make Jane see the connection Instead he lets the matter drop which in the Western perspective is puzzling We want everyone to see the truth and explain it and think worse of Olunde because of his inability to show Jane whats really going on But it is really his own unique viewpoint and actions that show that what he does is much smarter than our want of brute force Olundes intelligence stems from thinking before acting Yes Jane gives perfect ammunition to explain why his father saving his people from destruction and going to a much better place but that doesnt mean the best solution is for him to point this out Changing peoples opinions in discussion might be a Western virtue but opening ones trap is not always the best strategic option Olundes education and background combined give him a unique vantagepoint on action and he sees that he can best help his people by waiting and evaluating the situation There are three essential reasons why Olunde avoids pointing out the obvious to Jane First of all while Jane seems intelligent and ready to accept what he says more than any other Brit in the play it is also true that Westerners like to discover the
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