Radicalism and Violence as Catalysts for Social Change: A Study of Irobi’s Cemetery Road, Hangmen also Die and Nwadigwe’s Udoji

Author: Kester Nnaemeka Dibia
Department: Theartre Arts
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The research explores the recurrent controversy surrounding radicalism and violence as imperatives for social change. Therefore, the problem of this study stems from the preferred concept of social and revolutionary change: violent or peaceful processes to change. Since this concept is linked to leadership, the researcher critically examines the themes of leadership and the resultant radicalism and violence arising from the lopsided relationship between the rulers and the ruled, the privileged and the less privileged, the “haves” and the “have –nots” as
explored in some randomly selected Nigerian plays. Irobi’s Cemetery Road, Hangmen Also Die and Nwadigwe’s Udoji are used as paradigms to discuss radicalism and violence as the possible reactions of the masses to insensitive leadership. Case study and content analysis approaches of the qualitative research method are adopted by the researcher. Primary sources of data include Cemetery Road, Hangmen Also Die and Udoji while the secondary sources are
books, journals, magazines, newspapers from the library and the internet. It can be said that the Marxist philosophy of a classless society has provided the foothold for the thematic and ideological stance of the playwrights whose works have been used in this study since Marxism contends that the masses who Karl Marx refers to as the “exploited class” are “locked inevitably in conflict” with the bourgeoisie who own and control the means of production, thereby exploiting the masses. Finally, the work recommends good leadership as the antidote to violence and presents drama as a tool for conscientization, reformation and transformation.

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