Home ENGLISH LANGUAGE PLAY: THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND LITERATURE FORM THREE

PLAY: THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND LITERATURE FORM THREE

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THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND

     THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND

PLAYWRIGHT: GUILLAUME OYONO -MBIA

SETTING: MVOUTESI IN CAMEROON

YEAR: 1960s

INTRODUCTION

Three suitors one husband appears to be a comedy play

because it is witty or humorous. I.e. it may make you

laugh.

The Title “Three suitors one husband” is nothing but

three men who want to marry a girl called Juliette,

whereby two of them have already paid the bride price to

marry her (Julliete), and one of them is unknown to

Julliette’s family. It is only Julliette who knows him, for

they are both at school. He is called Oko. He is the only

man whom Julliette wants to be her husband. Both three

men (suitors) are competing to marry Julliete but they

differ in terms of economic status. For instance Mbia,

who is senior Civil Servant, is wealthier than others. Ndi

(a peasant) is at least richer than Oko (Julliette’s choice).

Mbia pays 200,000 Francs as the bride price for

marrying Julliette; Ndi pays 100,000 Francs which is

smaller than that of Mbia. Julliette’s family wants Mbia

to marry her (Julliette) for he is wealthier than others

and he paid 200,000/= Francs which is greater than the

money paid by Ndi. Oko pays nothing; he is very poor he

is just a student like Juliette.

All these issues of paying the bride price take place

while Juliette is not at home; therefore she is not

informed that she is going to marry. This is because

according to their traditions, it is parents who decide

whether their daughter is to be married or not.

When Julliette comes back from school she is

wondering to hear from her parents that they want her to

marry and the money for bride price has already been

paid. And two suitors are waiting for her.

Julliette protests because she is in need of continuing

with further studies before marrying. Apart from that she

is in love with her fellow student called Oko. She loves

him very much.

Having discovered that it is difficult to convince her

parents not to marry either Mbia or Ndi, she decides to

steal the money (300,000 Francs) paid by Mbia and Ndi

and gives all of it to her choice (Oko). Oko is afraid but

Julliette convinces him to take them and then he will

have to pay them to her parents as the bride price so

that he will be considered to have paid the greater

amount than all the suitors. Before payment Juliette

announces that she is ready to be married but she will

only be married by someone who will pay 300,000/=

Francs, knowing that Oko has such amount. Her parents

try to find the men who will pay such amount but they

fail. As the result Oko arrives and pays such amount.

Therefore marriage between Juliette and Oko takes

place. Juliette appears to be the winner, for she

succeeds to marry the man of her choice (Oko)

ABOUT THE BOOK

The play is set in Mvoutessi village in the southern part

of Eastern Cameroon, a typical Bulu village, built along

the road. The book is all about cultural conflict existing

between traditional culture represented by the villagers

against the western culture represented by young people

like Juliette, Oko, and kouma. The play begins by

showing Juliette, a daughter of the village, is about to

return home from her secondary school with Oko, her

father, Atangana and all the relatives expect Juliette to

comply with these. The resulting clash symbolizes the

meeting of two conflicting cultures. The play is divided

into acts as summarized here below

ACT ONE

RELATIVES AWAIT JULIETTE EAGERLY IN THE VILLAGE

It is quite afternoon in Mvoutessi Village. The relatives

are seen gathering at Atangaa’s house expecting Juliette

to arrive at any time from her boarding school at

Libamba. Atangana is seen making a basket and

Abessolo is busy sculpting an ebony figurine while

Oyono and Ondua are playing a game of “Songho”. All

these men are seen drinking palm wine. The women

such as Matalina and Bella do not drink; instead they are

busy cracking peanuts for the meal. Later, Atangana is

shown complaining about his wife’s behavior of coming

late back to the village from the bush as he says to

Ondua, his young brother: “You see; Ondua? The clock

itself says we’re half-way through the afternoon already!

And that wife of mine’s still working in the bush! Will that

woman ever understood that she must always come back

to the village before midday?”

THE COMING OF JULIETTE

Juliette is warmly welcome back to the village by the

relatives. She embraces the members in a Bulu way as

the tradition demands (Consider African tradition).

A little while later, Juliette is shocked when she is told

about marriage arrangements done by her family in her

favor. She is told that, Ndi, a young farmer came to see

them, five weeks ago and said that he wanted to marry

her and on top of that, he has already paid them, one

hundred thousand francs as dowry. Juliette is more

shocked when her father informs her that they were also

expecting another suitor, a great civil servant ( Mbia) that

very afternoon who also want to marry her and that, If

Mbia pays a larger bride price than Ndi , he (Mbia) is

going to marry Juliette. This question annoys more

Juliette as she is seen shouting at her father: What? Am I

for sale? Are you trying to give me to the highest bidder?

Why can’t you ask my opinion about my own marriage?

This causes a serious family conflict between Juliette

and her relatives, all the relatives know is that Juliette

has now been corrupted by the secondary school

education introduced by the French in Cameroon.

MAKRITA IS COMING BACK FROM THE BUSH

Makrita (Juliette’s mother) comes back from the bush

with a basket containing food crops such as cassava,

banana, and sugar cane. As soon as Juliette sees her

mother, she goes to embrace her. Atangana blames his

wife (Makrita) that she is the one who teaches Juliette

such a disgraceful behavior of disobedience.

THE ARRIVAL OF MBIA

Oyono informs people about the coming of great man

(Mbia). He wears a terylene suit, dark glasses and an

impressive collection of medals on his chest that make

him look a real civil servant. People are confused and

excited. Atangana orders Oyono to go and beat the drum

so as to tell everybody in the village to come to his

house that very afternoon and among other things, he

(Atananga) wants all the people to go to the roof to give

Mbia a big welcome.

ACT TWO

MBIA INTRODUCED HIMSELF BEFORE THE VILLAGERS

Mbia is invited in the village; he comes with his driver

called Engulu. After sitting in a big armchair, he is asked

to introduce himself before the villagers and tell them

what brought with him there. Mbia starts introducing

himself as a very important civil servant from

Sangmelima who works in a very large office. He tells

peoples that, because of his exceptional abilities, he has

been awarded many medals. He then continues telling

people the reason of his visit to the village that he seeks

the honor to become a member of Atangana’s great

family through marriage, he asks them to give him

Juliette, Among other things, Mbia orders his driver

(Engulu) to offer a couple of drinks to the villagers who

start drinking without bothering about glasses.

MBIA IS ASKED TO TELL PEOPLE HIS GENEALOGY

Abessolo tells Mbia that before answering his request to

marry their daughter of the village (Juliette), he must tell

the villagers his genealogy (the study of family history,

including the study of which the ancestors of a particular

person were). Mbia introduces himself that he belongs

to the tribe Esse. On his mother’s side he is a

descendant of the Mbidambanes. His mother’s (Mbia

grandmother) was a Yembong. There is a general wail

(weep) of distress among the villagers when the tribe

Yembong is mentioned. Mbia stop in surprise, and looks

questioningly at Abessolo who is more upset than any of

the others, the grandmother of Juliette’s grandfather

(Abessolo’s grandmother) was also a Yembong.

Mbia: “Impossible marriage? And what about my beer?

Abessolo: “No marriage…. No marriage! Return him his

beer! He is related to Juliette! No marriage!”

Mbia: “Engulu! Take back the beer! We are leaving!”

The villagers rush to the case,and helping themselves

with more bottles while Engulu is unsuccessifully trying

to take them away.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE VILLAGE HEADMAN

Mbaraga, the village headman convinces the villagers to

accept Mbia to have their daughter Juliette. He claims

that the great men should always deserve special

treatment and since Mbia is the civil servant, he

deserves better treatment to marry Juliette. In the book,

Mbarga is show flattering Mbia.

Mbarga: “listen all of you! I’m the headman of this village!

Mbia; our visitor has come all the way from Sangimilima

because he wants to marry our daughter Juliette. Well…. I

know that some people here think he related to Juliette, so

there should be no marriage…..but what? Should we be

foolish enough to turn down a civil servant like Mbia for

such reasons? Don’t great men always deserve special

treatment?

Villagers: “They do!”

Now all the people including Abessolo are convinced

and support Mbarga that Mbia should marry Juliette.

THE PAYMENT OF THE BRIDE PRICE

Mbia pays the bride price (200,000 Franc), he gives it to

Mbarga who counts it with Abessolo then gives it to

Atangana. In this act the playwright discloses that Mbia

has got eight wives, therefore if he marries Juliette she

will be the ninth wife. In addition to that the playwright

shows that, none of these wives of Mbia went to

secondary school like Juliette, so if Mbia succeed to

marry Juliette, she is highly expected to rule the house.

After Mbia had paid the bride price he tells people that

he has to attend a cocktail party at the secretary of the

state’s private residence that evening.

JULIETTE QUERRLES WITH THE FAMILY

Juliette is not happy with what her family has done to

her particularly on the question of marriage since she

has not been consulted. She sticks to her stand that she

loves her fiancé Oko instead of the two suitors (ndi and

Mbia). This causes a serious conflict between Juliette

and Oyono since he consider that Juliette does not love

him because the money paid for Juliette’s bride price

could be paid for Oyono to pay for his future wife.

Therefore Juliette’s refusal to marry the civil servant

simply means that Oyono misses the wife.

EATING MANNER

People go to eat inside, the act discloses that,

traditionally, children are supposed to observe eating

manners. When eating, elders are heard scolding the

children who don’t eat properly.

JULIETTE STEALS THE BRIDE PRICE AND GIVES IT TO

OKO

Juliette meets to Oko who was coming to her home

place, she informs him of the disaster which had

befallen her. At the beginning, Oko seems not to

understand the matter very well therefore she supports

Juliette to get married but after being aware that Juliette

‘s family has chosen suitors for her , he becomes very

upset since he loves Juliette so much that he is ready to

marry her. Juliette suggests going inside the house so

as to steal the bride price already paid by Ndi and Mbia.

She runs to the main house promising Oko to bring him

three hundred thousand francs. Kouma also is shown

coming with his old motorcycle and talks to Oko.

Meanwhile later, Julliette comes out of the main house

with an old briefcase. Oko becomes happy after realizing

the money meant to facilitate their marriage. Kouma forces Oko on the carrier of the motorcycle telling him: “Come on, sit there, and you’ll soon be a wealthy man! Marriage is an expensive business nowadays! Better take advantage of your money, and get married!”

ACT THREE

Ndi arrive at Atangana’s house the same day at night. He is told that Julliette is no longer interested to marry him since she is now crazy about Mbia. After hearing that, Ndi wants his money back so that he could go back to Awae, his home village.

Atangana goes to the main house to take the money to pay back Ndi but he discovers both the money and briefcase missing. When the villagers understand what is going on, Mbarga is given a task to convince him (Ndi) to add another 100,000 franc and take Juliette right away.

Ndi is ready to marry Juliette but when he is told to add another sum of money, he refuses to add the money and threatens to bring them police and he goes away. People are very scared but Mbarga advises them to try the civil servant who left him drinking Ark in his house.

MBIA THREATENS THE VILLAGERS

People decide to follow Mbia at Mbarga’s house so as to

convince him to add one hundred thousand francs so as

to take Juliette with him right away. They badly need the

money to refund Ndi. Unfortunately for them, Mbia is not

ready to add the money and threatens to bring them ten

police Commissioners the following day. In the book,

Mbia is shown ordering Engulu, his servant. “Take the

name of this village in your note-book. Write that the

people of this village have no respect for important civil

servants like me. The roars leading to the Mvoutessi are

poorly kept, and that the houses have not been while

wished in expectation of the honour of my visit. The

women of this village are illegally distilling Arki” After

having finished this drama, he goes to the road with his

driver, leaving the villagers confused.

ACT FOUR

The act begins showing the same place at night; there is

a stage which is now lit by the witch-doctor’s red fire. All

the villagers, male and female, stand in circle behind

Sangatiti, the witch-doctor and his assistant who are

seen dancing. People decide to call the witch doctor to

help them find out who stole the money. The witchdoctor

demand a lot of things such as rams, ducks and

cocks before the solving the problem. He fools the

villagers by telling them a series of lies. Then the

villagers became aware that he was fooling them, their

eyes were now open, they angrily rush towards him and

his assistant and they drive them out shouting at him: “

you liar…you scoundrel…you robber …etc”.

ACT FIVE

The act begins showing that it is the next day, a

particularly sunny afternoon. The men of the village are

gathered in front of Atangana’s main house. They are

shown to be disappointment by Juliette’s disobedience

as she is not ready to get married to either Ndi or Mbia.

They say that the girl (Juliette) is corrupted by secondary

school. It is then suggested by the people that Atangana

should take Juliette to Younde (the capital city of

Cameroon) and visit all the offices so that she could

attract the other suitors in the city. They keep on

convincing him (Atangana) that if any one agrees to pay

him three thousand francs at once, he should give him

Juliette right away. After hearing this comment, Juliette

now make up her mind and accept to marry any man

who would pay three hundred thousand francs at once,

she says

“I’ll marry the first man who pays you three hundred

thousand francs at once!.. but you’ll have to settle the

marriage on the sport, without asking for any terylene

suits, no rams, no pigs and no colanuts!.”

Juliette had high expectation that person would be Oko

since he is expected to arrive there at any time.

Unfortunately for her, the third suitor (Tchetgen) appears

and people convince him to pay three hundred thousand

francs claiming that Juliette is very educated. This is

proved when Mbarga informs Tchetgen:“ she can also

speak English, espana, espanol, Spanish, all these

languages they teach at Dibamba!”. However, they fail to

come to terms sinceTchetgen is ready to pay only two

hundred thousand francs as dowry, therefore Tchetgen

fail to marry Juliette.

THE COMING OF OKO

Oko is dressed like a great man smoking a long pipe. He

is accompanied by Kouma and six musicians. Oko is

ready to marry Juliette but he wants the girl be asked her

opinion since she is the one who is getting married

therefore it would be better for her to choose her own

husband. The elders are strongly opposed to this

suggestion, they fear Juliette could start her nonsense

about marrying her school boy. Mbarga is shown telling

Kouma: “ah! Kouma! Can’t you explain to Mr Dr of palmtree

leaves…er…doctor of Spanish and Espanol that

women don’t speak here in Mvoutessi ! We’ve decide to

give him Juliette! What has she got to do with it?

After that Kouma points at the floor and Juliette moves

closer to them, pretending to look at them thoughtfully.

Atangana timidly points at the leaf representing Oko

while addressing the most eloquent winks to his

daughter. Finally, Juliette chooses the leaf representing

Oko, the bride price is paid and the marriage is settled.

Atangana is heard telling her daughter: “you know, my

child, I might as well have given you for nothing…….to that

Lecrerc schoolboy of yours.”

THEMES (THEMATIC ANALYSIS)

POSITION/ROLE OF WOMEN: The so called role of

women is played by a girl (Juliette), the way she is

courageous. She tries to protest against oppressive

traditional customs of their society. For instance she

is forced to marry by men whom she doesn’t love but

she tries to protest although it is against their

tradition. This makes her achieve her goal. For

instance she achieves to marry Oko, a boy whom she

loved so much. From the story, women are

positioned as follows

1.

Firstly they are traditionally oppressed. For instance

when Juliette arrives at home, she becomes shocked

for she is told that they want her to marry, the bride

price has been already paid for her when she was at

school and she was not informed. For stance

Obessolo says “Consult a woman about her

marriage?” this shows that a woman is undermined.

I.e. not involved in decision making.

Women are also denied from being educated.

Juliette wants to continue with studies but her

parents thinks that marriage is much important than

further education.

Women are used as the source of income. For

instance the whole Juliette’s family and their

neighbors want Julliette to marry Mbia, who seems

to be richer than Ndi so as to improve their life

standards. They force Juliette to marry him just

because he is very rich while Juliette is not in love

with him.

2. Conflicts.

The first conflict takes place when the money paid for

bride price is stolen by Juliette while Ndi is in need of his

money (100,000/= Francs) to be refunded back to him.

They try to deceive Ndi that he should pay 200,000

Francs more so that they can pay them back to Mbia and

he will marry their daughter (Julliette). Ndi refuses and

threatens to call the Police from Zoetele. Then they go

back to Mbia, Mbia refuses and threatens to call ten

Police. Hence conflict takes place. There is also the

conflict between Juliette against her family over the

issue of marriage. That is Juliette wants marry by Oko, a

man who is not preferred by her family because he is

poor. her parents want her to marry a reach man (Mbia).

Juliette is not ready to be married by Mbia. Hence

conflict.

The causes of conflicts from the play

In a particular society, women are not allowed to

choose a man to marry. That’s why Juliette’s parents

chose Mbia and Ndi for their daughter. But when

Juliette comes back from school she goes against

such traditions. This is because she is conscious that

it is undermining her. It does not give her a chance

for decision making. Hence conflict takes place.

This is also one amongst the causes of conflicts. For

instance in order to solve the issue of marriage

between Juliette and her suitors, Mbarga suggests

that a witchdoctor (Sanga Titi) will solve such a

problem but late on, Sanga Titi fails to solve. As the

result they chase him away having discovered that he

is a liar.

Juliette seems not to love Mbia and Ndi. She is in

love with Oko. That’s why she hinders her parents’

plans to marry Mbia. This leads into conflict between

her (Juliette) against her parents.

POVERTY

Juliette’s family seems to be poor that’s why they accept

money from the two suitors and they are ready to offer

their daughter to any of them especially the one who

pays a lot of money for bride price. For instance they

suggest that Mbia should marry Juliette because he had

paid 200,000 Francs which is greater than 100,000

Francs paid by Ndi. They also prefer Mbia, for he is a civil

servant, therefore he will save them from financial

problems.

IGNORANCE

The majority (Villagers) including Juliette’s parents are

ignorant. For instance they fail to discover that, Mbia is

rich but a womanizer, hypocrite, deceitful and corrupt.

For instance having paid 200,000 Francs he deceives

people that he has to leave since he is going to attend a

cock tail party while he was going to have a drink (arki).

But still they want him to marry Juliette. Apart from that

he is a polygamist, who has eight wives but still

Julliette’s parents want Julliette to be his ninth wife.

CONSCIOUSNESS/AWARENESS

Julliette is aware that her parents are ignorant that’s why

she tries to make her own decisions For instance she

succeeds to marry her choice (Oko), her parents wanted

her to marry Mbia, who is deceitful and hypocrite. Also

Kouma is aware that Sanga Titi is a liar. He tries to

expose to the villagers that he is a liar and as the result

they chase him away.

This is an act of making people believe something which

is not true. Mbia is deceitful and a liar, as he tries to

make people believe something that is not true, for

instance after paying 200,000/- Francs he deceives

people by saying “I am going to attend a cocktail party at

the secretary of states private residence this evening” as

the result he goes to drink Arki (gongo). Also when

Juliette’s parents follow him at the place where he was

drinking he threatens to call the police so that they can

arrest them. We also see Julliette deceiving people that

she will only marry a man who pays 300,000/-Francs

while she has stolen that money and handles it to Oko.

And Oko eventually deceives people that the money

belongs to him. People believe and accept marriage

between Julliete and Oko after being deceived.

Therefore deceit is what makes Julliette achieves her

goals.

This is the situation whereby a character fails to fulfill a

promise or something expected by another character.

The villagers including Juliette’s family are disappointed

because of their ignorance. For instance they were

expecting that Juliette would marry Mbia and they would

enjoy life as he is very rich but Juliette refuses to marry

him. Hence disappointment takes place for, Juliette’s

failure to fulfill marriage between her and Mbia. Also

both Mbia and Ndi are disappointed by Juliette because

they were expecting to be Juliette’s husband but in the

end Juliette decides/achieves to marry Oko.

IGNORANCE

The term ignorance simply means the situation in which

people lack knowledge or awareness about a specific

subject or fact in their society in particular and around

other societies at large. For example in this book, the

playwright shows how people in Mvoutessi society, most

of the female children are despised, segregated and

abused to the maximum, they are not allowed to go to

school, they are just regarded as burdens to the society.

This is clearly evidenced in the book when Abessolo is

heard shouting: “That proves what I always say: never

send your daughters to secondary school! Look at

Matalina who never went to secondary school! Doesn’t

she always speak like a sensible and obedient girl?” The

question of ignorance has been one of the serious

barriers towards realizing sustainable development. The

society with ignorant people like Mbarga, Abessolo and

Bella experience no form of development. Ignorance is

an enemy of the people in particular and development at

large; therefore it should be attacked with all our effort.

POLYGAMY

Polygamy refers to the tendency in which a person tends

to have more than one wife at the same time. This

practice has been a common play in Africa, particularly

in rural communities. In this book, polygamy is seen as

measure of virility or sign of prestige among men. For

example, in this play, the playwright shows how

Mvoutessi villagers are polygamous, a good example of

this include deputy of the secretary of the state, Mbarga

and Mbia just to mention a few. Mbia is also shown in

the book to have eight wives and if he marries Juliette,

she will be the ninth wife. The practice of polygamy is

very dangerous particularly in the contemporary world

since it is a possible way of spreading HIV/AIDS. When a

man has many wives, it is possible that some of the

wives will not be faithful in marriage. This is because; it

is difficult for a single man to satisfy the needs of all

women sexually, so it is advised to do away with this

marriage practice if we are to be HIV/AIDS free.

CONSERVATISM

Conservatism refers to the tendency of the people to

resist great or sudden changes due to the reason that

they prefer traditional style and values. In this book for

instance, Bella and Abessolo (Juliette’s grandparents)

are good example of a conservative persons. Abessolo

supports the traditional values and primitive custom that

women should be inferior before men. On top of that, he

also supports the outdated custom of wife beating;

Apart from Abessolo, Bella is also portrayed in this book

as conservative. She still keeps the traditional custom of

choosing girls their future husbands. Conservatism

plays a very significant role to undermine social welfare

as whole and gender equality in particular. It is rational

that people should abandon such a poor belief so as to

ensure development in all spheres of life.

SUPERSTITION

This refers to the widely held but irrational (not logical or

reasonable) belief in supernatural influences, especially

as bringing good or bad luck. This practice has become

a common game in most of the third world countries

particularly the African countries. For example, in this

play, the playwright shows that when Atangana and his

fellow elders realize that the bride price paid by the two

suitors (Ndi and Mbia) is missing, they decide to all

Sangatiti, the witch doctor to help them find out who

stole their money. This is well evidenced in the play

when Mbarga, the village headman is heard convincing

people:“We could once discover the unknown!…shouldn’t

we now send for a witch-doctor?… yes, we need a witchdoctor1

you know Sangatiti, the great witch-doctor, is

somewhere near Mfouladja. Let’s send Kouma there to

ask him to come.”Superstition can lead to serious

damages in the society such as killings, brutality and

conflicts among the societal members. The killings of

albinos and old women with red eyes in Tanzania can be

a good example of superstitious beliefs. Having

considered the side effects of this practice, the root

causes of the belief should be uprooted in the society for

the good of the entire nation.

AWARENESS

Awareness can simply be defined as knowledge that

someone has about something good or bad that is

existing within the society together with its advantages.

In this play, the playwright shows that young people like

Juliette, Oko and Kouma are aware of the various things

in their society as a result of formal education they had

acquired. Awareness acts as a pillar of the social

development. People with awareness tend to be creative,

curious and critical in many things concerning social

welfare as well as aware of the various things hindering

social development.

ILLUSION

Illusion refers to the state in which a person develops

false beliefs or ideas which may not come into reality.

Illusion is common in many African countries. For

example in this play, illusion is shown among the

villagers of Mvoutessi. For example Matalina, Ondua’s

daughter is having illusion that she will one day get

married to an important person like Mbia who will take

her out of the village. She also expects that she will live a

very luxurious life after getting married. The Mvoutessi

villagers are also portrayed to be full of illusion such that

they have very high expectations of getting so many

things after Juliette is married to a greater man, Mbia

that is the reason why they despise Oko and Ndi. Illusion

can also be proved when Matalina is heard commenting:

“How lucky! My cousin was definitely born with a star on

her forehead, fancy marrying a wealthy man! She’ll soon

have lots of dresses, blonde wigs, she’ll soon have

everything!.”

NEPOTISM (FAVOURITISM)

This refers to the act whereby people tend to serve the

other people not due to their academic qualification but

because they are the relatives or because they know

them. This is another form of corruption and is so vivid

in the government offices. The government officials

serve the people that they know and sometimes cannot

take any measures against such people in case they

commit an illegal act (crime). For example in the play,

Mbarga is never touched by the police although his wife

makes and sells Arki since he is the village headman but

other common people like Ondua are always caught and

beaten by the police. Apart from that, also common

villagers get problems in obtaining gun permits just

because they are not known by anybody in those offices

that is why they expect that mbia canassist them. This is

well proved in this play when Abessolo is heard advising

Atangana.

ALCOHOLISM

This refers to the situation of having drunk so much

alcohol such that it is impossible to think or speak early

for example in this play the writer has used several

characters such as Ondua, Mbarga and Mbia who are

drunkards to represent this theme to us. Most of

Mvoutessi men are drunkards such that they spend

most of their time only drinking leaving all the economic

activities in the hands of their wives. For example at the

beginning of this play, Oyono and Ondua are represented

playing a game of “Songho” and making frequent use of

a calabash of palm wine set beside them. Oyono is also

seen now and then going to pour some wine for his

father (Atangana) and grandfather (Abessolo) while the

women such as Matalinaand Bella do not drink; instead

they are busy cracking peanuts. The writer continues to

describe Ondua as the best of all drunkards in the

village. For example in the book, Bella is heard telling

Matalina when going back home: “yes, my child! Go and

join your mother Monica! She must be feeling lonely in the

house, with your father still drinking at the headman’s

house

AFRICAN CULTURE

This refers to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life

and social organization of a particular society or group.

The playwright has used Mvoutessi village to represent

the African culture found in many other African

societies. Some of the predominant African culture

depicted in the book is the following:

Food taboos: Mvoutessi villagers have their own

food taboos. For example women and young men

are not allowed to eat vipers but young men eat the

vipers by special permission. For example in this

book Mbarga is shown complaining of the young

men Belinga and Owono of eating viper without

elder’s permission.

1.

Religion: Most of the villagers in this play still keep

many traditional beliefs. They believe in their gods

and spirits such as owls and chimpanzees. They

also strongly believe in the power of their dead

ancestors who watch over the society from the

spiritual world.

2.

Marriage: Villagers have their own tradition on the

matters of concerning marriage. For example, girls

are not allowed to fall in love without the permission

3.

CHARACTERIZATION

1. JULIETTE

She is the young girl, who goes against an oppressive

tradition belief. She is educated and passed her exams

at Dibamba Secondary School. She is the daughter of

Atangana and so the granddaughter of Obessolo. She is

the one who has three suitors including Mbia, Ndi and

Oko. She achieves to marry the man of her choice (Oko)

despite the obstacles from her parents. She is also

deceitful i.e. she steals the money paid by Mbia and Ndi

as the bride price to marry her and takes it to Kouma so

that they can give Oko so much that Oko can pay for her

as the bride price. She plays the so called roles of

women, for she achieved to stand in front of people and

say something. She also achieves to marry the man of

her choice (Oko).

2. Oko

Like Juliette, he is a student. He succeeds to marry

Juliette although Juliette’s family did not accept him

because he is poor and just a student like Juliette. They

later on accept him because Juliette stole the money

paid by Mbia and Ndi from her father (Atangana) and

gives him to pay as the bride price (The total sum of

300,000/= Francs). He is also against oppressive

tradition which hinders development.

3. Mbia

He is a Civil servant, the second suitor to Juliette. He is

the most preferable suitor to all other suitors by

Juliette’s parents. This is because he is wealthier than

others. Despite his richness Julliette rejects her. He pays

200,000/- Francs as the bride price to marry Juliette. He

is deceitful, a liar and corrupt. For instance after paying

the bride price he says that he is going to attend a

cocktail party while he is going to drink Arki (gongo). He

is a polygamist, for he has eight wives. Therefore he

wants Juliette to be his ninth wife.

4. Kouma

He is Julliette’s cousin, who is educated. He facilitates

marriage between Juliette and Oko. He is conscious and

like Juliette he is against tradition.

5. Oyono

He is Juliette’s young brother, He is not married. He is

proud of marriage between Mbia and his sister (Juliette)

because he will get enough money and he can use it to

get his wife. Therefore he is against Juliette, who

refuses to be married to a rich man (Mbia)

6. Atangana

He is Juliette’s father, the husband of Markita. The son

of Obessolo and Bella. He oppresses his wife

traditionally. For instance his wife works in the farm

while he (Atangana) stays at home, making baskets.

Then when his wife comes late he becomes angry. He

conflicts with Julliette (his daughter) when Juliette

refuses to marry Mbia. This is because he is in need of

money and financial help and Mbia seems to be the only

rich suitor. Therefore he exploits his daughter, for he

uses her as she source of income. For instance he

promises that once Juliette’s bide price will be paid he

will take some amount to get his son Oyono a wife. He is

a superstitious as he believes Sanga-Titi, who is not a

really witchdoctor.

7. Markita

She is Atangana’s wife. Like Bella, she is unconscious.

She believes that women are normally inferior to men.

She is oppressed by her husband but she doesn’t react

(unconsciousness). She thinks that it is a normal thing.

She is very rich ideologically. For instance at first she

claims that Ndi is a good suitor because he helps her in

the farm but later on she believes that it is Mbia, who is

the best suitor just because it is decided by her husband.

8. MbargaIs

He is the village headman. Like Mbia, he is a drunkard

and corrupt. He supports traditions and he is conscious.

For instance he believes that Sanga-Titi is really

witchdoctor. He distills Arki and he is not caught

(corrupt).

9. Sanga Titi.

He is conscious than villagers as he succeeds to deceive

them. For instance he pretends to be a witchdoctor and

they all believe him. Therefore he gets money from the

villagers using their ignorance. He later on fails to reveal

the truth about the money stolen at Atangana’s house as

the result they discover that he is a liar and then they

eventually chase him away.

10. Obessolo

He is the father of Atangana who represents the oldest

generation. He wants to stop marriage between Mbia

and Juliette because of their close relationship but he

later on accepts after being convinced by Mbarga. He

believes that the so called education destroys the young

i.e. Julliette has been destroyed by education because

he is against their traditions. But the same person is

proud of Juliette’s education and demands more money

because Juliette is educated (ignorance).

11. Bella

She is Obessolo’s wife. Like Markita she believes that

women are always inferior to men. She is ready to

perform any duty she is assigned by her husband. She is

ready to be beaten by her husband. She believes that

Juliette’s behavior is not good as he tries to reject

marriage between her and Mbia

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