Home ENGLISH LANGUAGE PLAYS: THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM 3

PLAYS: THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM 3

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THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM 3

THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM 3

THREE SUITORS: ONE HUSBAND

PLAYWRIGHT: guilLaume OYONO MBIA

SETTING CAMEROON AT MVOUTESSI VILLAGE

YEAR       :              
  1960

 

GENERAL
SUMMARY

The play takes place in a
small village called Mvoutesisi in Cameroon.
This village is typical Bulu village.
The Author uses Juliette as the main character of this play.

Juliette is a student who has been away from
the village studying at Secondary School in Libamba.  While at school, she meets one boy called Oko
who became her fiancé. 

Juliette wants to
introduce Oko to her parents and other relatives. She is expected to arrive home
at any time. All the relatives are eagerly waiting for her since her parents
already choose two suitors and receive the bride price.

The first suitor is called
Ndi the peasant who paid 100,000 francs as dowry.  The second suitor is Mbia who is the Senior
Civil Servant expected to pay 200,000 francs as dowry. All the villagers and
relatives are supporting Mbia since he is wealthier than a peasant (Ndi). 

They have their illusion thinking that Mbia
will help them solving their problems like obtaining gun permit and when they
arrested for engaging in illegal business (Arki).

Mbia is expected to arrive
at any time therefore, good coincidence for Atangana.  As Juliette arrives, she surprised and
shocked to hear that they want her to get married. Juliette is shocked because
of the three things.

First, she wants to continue with further studies. Second,
she has not been consulted on matters that concern her and her life like marriage.
Third, she has got a fiancé of her own choice called Oko.

The Whole family and other
relatives are shocked since what Juliette doing is contrary to her tradition in
the society. It is men who decide to whom a girl should marry. Women have no
say in the society, even on matters that concern their life. Abessolo says. “Since when do women speak in Mvoutesisi?”

As the argument goes on,
Mbia arrives. Everybody is excited and Mbia seizes this chance to impress them
by behaving like a great man. The drum is beaten to invite people.

Mbia is
given an armchair to sit. He comes with his driver Engulu who despises these
bush people. Mbia introduces himself so pomposity as a great man and tells them
to share drinks with him.

Mbia explains about his
background. Abessolo says marriage is impossible because Mbia comes from
Yembong tribe. According to him, Juliette is related to him.

Then Mbarga
convinces the people to accept Mbia to marry Juliette. He says Mbia should be
given special treatment since he is important person who will help them in many
ways like getting gun permits, drinks and defends them from police when they
get caught dealing with illegal business (Ark).

Abessolo and other
relatives accept Mbia. With a lot of pomposity, Mbia pays the bride price
200,000 francs and hands them to Mbarga.

After paying, he majestically says he
has to leave because he has to attend a cocktail party at the Secretary of
state this evening. Instead of going to that party, he goes to drink Arki.

THREE SUITORS: ONE HUSBAND

But Juliette stands with
her firm of rejecting Mbia and wants Oko to marry her. To achieve her goals,
she secretly takes the bride price paid by Ndi and Mbia a total of 300,000
francs and gives them to Oko, her fiancée.

Oko hesitates but she convinces him
to take the money since they are going to be paid back to the family. Oko
accepts the idea after understanding that Juliette facilitates their marriage.

As the money disappears;
Atangana gets a lot of panic. The whole family is also in panic. They first
convince Ndi to pay more 200,000 francs so that they can pay to Mbia and allow
him to take Juliette as his wife.

Ndi refuses and threatens to take them to the
Police. This intensified the panic hence they go to ask Mbia who is now drunk Arki
to add 100,000 francs so that they can repay Ndi and allow him to take Juliette
as his wife.

Mbia also becomes furious and like Ndi threatens to come with ten
police commissioners (which obviously impossible). He says: “The roads are poorly kept and the houses


have not been whitewashed in expectation of the honour of my visit”.
When
one listens to this, one can think that Mbia is the president of the country.

Finally, Mbarga suggests
that a witchdoctor should be called so as to find out through magic who has
stolen the money. The witchdoctor Sanga Titi is called but he is a cheat and
thief. Sanga Titi does not help them find a thief instead threatens them with
evil spirits and death so that they can give him a lot of animals as gifts.


After discovering his lies, the villagers become angry and chase him away. So
the problem of money is not solved yet.

The blames continue raining
on Juliette from the family members. The people are worried and expect the


Police to turn up any moment now. They still continue to blame Juliette that
she is the main cause of the trouble. Abessolo says: “That foolish girl!”

Others
blame Juliette for refusing to marry a great civil servant Mbia and say that
the school taught her to be disobedient. Abessolo blames Atangana for sending Juliette
to school. He says:

                “Gilrs are nothing!”

                “Build yourself a large house or get your son a
wife!”

As the discussion goes on
about Juliette, Atangana suggest that Juliette should be taken to Yaounde to
get a wealth man.

Juliette refuses and surprises them by saying that she is
ready to marry the first man who pays 300,000 francs as bride price since she
is sure that it will be Oko.

Then she insists that the
man should pay that amount and no more. She says that because she knows that
Oko cannot afford buying so many presents that are usually demanded by
relatives.

Then Tchetgen, a trader
arrives and the villagers convince him to marry Juliette by paying 300,000
francs as bride price. As they are still bargaining, Oko arrives dressed like a
great man. Oko accompanied by Kouma and proceeded by six Musicians playing
Bafalos.

Then
Kouma introduces Oko as a very great man, greater than the civil servant Mbia. He
says that, he is a Doctor of Mathematics and that he has just appointed a high
commissioner.

 

The villagers are highly
impressed and decide to abandon Tchetgen. Oko is given a chance to speak and
express himself.

He insists that Juliette should be given a chance to speak and
give her rational judgment. This causes conflict with Atangana and other relatives
insist that Juliette has no right to give her views and hence they have decided
for her.

Kouma also insists that Juliette
should be given a chance to decide whose fiancée she would like between
Tchetgen and Oko. Finally, Juliette is given a chance to choose one suitor
among them. She categorically chooses Oko.

Oko pays the bride price and every
one celebrates the wedding. Indeed: Where there is the will, there is a way”.
Oko and Julliette win the race towards their desired marriage though through a
lot of challenges

FORM

1. TITLE OF THE BOOK

The title is a little bit
comic in that the reader starts wondering how possible someone can have three
suitors in a situation where only one husband is needed. The title is related

to what happens in Cameroon at Mvoutessi village when Juliette’s parents accept
bride price from two Suitors for their daughter Juliette. The play reaches the
Climax when the bride price from these two Suitors, Mbia and Ndi is stolen from
Atangana. In attempt to get money to refund one of the Suitors, Atangana gets

the third Suitor Tchetgen to pay a huge bride price in order to refund Ndi and
Mbia. This title is centered on the greed of parents who think their daughter

can marry a man of their choice. Juliette rejects all suitors because she
already has a fiancée, Oko whom they met at school. Therefore, Oko is the only
One Husband.

2. SETTING.

The play is set in Cameroon
at Mvoutesisi village. This village is typical Bulu village and has been chosen
by the author to act as the microcosm of many African societies since whatever

is taking place in that village is similar to many societies in the African
continent. Also some events take place after white’s penetration who comes with
new modern civilization in which they build Libamba Secondary School where Juliette
and Oko meet as students.

3. PLOT

The play has chronological
narration as the events expressed are straight forward narration. First we are
told about how African societies live in Cameroon at Mvoutessi village and

coming of new culture with school of Libamba and then we see the effect of
education which obtains from Libamba Secondary School including changes of some
African customs.            

4. CHARACTERIZATION

i.       ABESSOLO

ü He
is the father of Atangana and Ondua.

ü He
represents the old generation.

ü He
believes that the World is changing and schools destroy the young generation.

ü He


suggests that girls should not be sent to school.

ü He
wants women not to be consulted when it comes to important matters like
marriage.

ü He


says, girls are not supposed to see their suitors and once the suitors have
been chosen they should accept.

 ii.       BELLA

ü She
is Abessolo’s wife and strongly supports traditional ways of life.

ü She
supports her husband when he says that: “You
must beat your wives”

 

ü She
completely accepts her inferior position in the society and agrees with her
husband in all ways.

ü She


is shocked by the way Juliette behaves before her father.

ü Bella
supports the idea that a girl should marry for the good of the family and not
for her personal benefit.

 

iii.       ATANGANA

ü He
is the father of Juliette and Oyono.

ü He
is the son of Abessolo and Bella.

ü He


is a husband of Makrita.

ü He
believes that women are inferior to men therefore women should do all the work
especially in the farm.

ü Atangana
believes that his daughter should make him to become rich.

ü After


the payment of the bride price by Mbia, also he demands fantastic things like,
“a radio set”, “a bicycle”, “4 suits”, “5 blankets”, “a sewing machine”, “10
sacks of rice”, “4 oxen”, “15 sheeps”, “10 goats”, “20 pigs”, “30 cases of red
wine” etc.

üAtangana

becomes angry when Julliette rejects Mbia and chooses Oko her fellow student.

ü Atangana
sees that, Julliette’s education as an investment. He says: “When I sent her to secondary school, I was
just saying to everybody “someday”, I will benefit from that
”.

When Julliette refuses to Marry Mbia, Atangana
regrets for having spent all cocoa’s money to educate her.

 

iv.       ONDUA.

ü He
is the son of Abessolo and Bella.

ü He
is the husband of Monica and father of Matalina.

ü He
is drunkard and lazier.

ü He
always is arrested by the police for being drunk Arki and disorderly.

ü He
insists that any suitor should bring plenty to drink.

ü Ondua
is very strange, despite depending on his wife, he still despises women.

ü He
says: “No sensible man should waste his
time trying to reason with them”.

ü After
Julliette refusing Mbia and accept Oko, in wedding ceremony Ondua cries out: “Ah Atangana! What about the drink”?

 

v.
JULLIETTE

ü She
is the daughter of Atangana and Makrita.

ü She
is the granddaughter of Abessolo and Bella.

ü She


represents the educated young girls who going against the traditional values.

ü She
has fallen in love with her fellow student (Oko) whom she wants to marry.

ü The


family chooses her the suitors that are Ndi and Mbia and they want her to marry
Mbia because he is the great man who can help the family.

ü Julliette


refuses to marry him hence lead to conflict with family members.

ü To
attain her goals, she decides to take the money paid by Ndi and Mbia total
300,000 francs as bride price and gives those to Oko so can use them as bride
price to her parents.

ü At
the end Julliette is succeeded to get married by Oko.

 

vi.
MAKRITA.

ü She
is Atangana’s wife and the mother of Julliette and Oyono.

ü She
belives that women are designed to serve and obey men.

ü She
accepts women’s inferior position in the society.

ü She
is very hard working woman.

ü She
works on the farm always.

ü First,
she agrees Ndi to be a good suitor for her daughter because Ndi helps her in
the farm.

ü When


she heard that Mbia is suitor to her daughter and also is a rich man soon
abandoned Ndi and support Mbia.

ü She
is not pleased with the way Julliette speaks when her father speaks.

ü To


her, money proves love and the most important suitor is the one who is wealth.

ü She
wants to know if Oko has a car.

ü She
is so concerned with the family and Julliette’s refusal means the family will
suffer.

ü She
suggests that, the marriage of the daughter should benefit the family members
and not for Julliette herself.

 

vii.       MONICA.

ü She
is Ondua’s wife and the mother of Matalina.

ü She
is dealing with illegal business of distilling Arki (Gongo).

ü She
engages in conflict with her husband Ondua since she tells him that, distilling
Arki is illegal.

 

viii.       OYONO

ü He
is the son of Atangana and Makrita.

ü He
is the brother of Julliette and the grandson of Abessolo and Bella.

ü He
wants to marry but he depends on Julliette’s bride price, which once paid will
be paid again for Oyono to get wife.

ü He


is psychologically affected when he sees his sister refusing to get married.

ü The
family is trying to help Oyono to get bride price.

ü Abessolo
tells Julliette after refusing: “You
don’t love your brother”.

ü And
Oyono supports his grandfather by saying that: “Yes! You don’t want me to get married”.

 

ix.       MATALINA

ü She
is Julliette’s cousin who not educated but very attractive.

ü She
is the daughter of Ondua and Monica who wants to live westernized life.

ü She


wishes to be married by a rich man and live in the city.

ü She
is jealous of Julliette who is going to marry a rich man. She says: “She will soon have lots of dresses and
blonde wigs”.

 

x.       MBARGA.

ü He
is the village headman who so much concerned about himself.

ü He
talks about his importance. He says: “A
great man like me! Is there anyone in the village who doesn’t know that I am a
very wise man?

ü He


demands that the villagers should recognize his greatness since he has been
blessed by the dead fathers of the village in a dream.  

ü He
wants to be introduced to Mbia as the village headman.

ü He
is polygamist with twelve wives and thinks of marrying again.

ü He
is very cunning since he flatters Mbia so much so that Mbia goes on giving him
more bottles of wine.

ü Mbarga


knows how to talk with Police commissioner, that is why he is never caught distilling
Arki.

ü He
says, Mbia should be given special treatment.

 

xi.       SANGA – TITI

ü He
is false witchdoctor who cheat people in the village.

ü He
is very cunning and interested in getting rich by cheating the villagers.

ü He


uses the mirror and antelope horns to fool people.

ü He
first listens to what the villagers say and then he says as if he knew it
before.

ü His


mirrors tell him nothing, he hears what Atangana says about the stolen money
and pretends to have discovered it before and the villagers are impressed.

ü He


demands so many things while cheating hence the villagers recognize that he is
a liar and chase him away.

 

xii.       NDI, MBIA, TCHETGEN AND OKO

ü These
are three Suitors whom they wanted to marry Juliette. Ndi has already paid
100,000 francs as bride price for Juliette and Mbia has already paid 200,000


francs as bride price for Juliette. Both are rejected by Juliette and Oko
becomes one husband to Juliette.

 

xiii.       KOUMA

ü He
is Juliette’s cousin. He is an educated young man.

ü He
is against the traditional norms.

ü He


wants Juliette to be given freedom to express herself.

ü He
facilitates the marriage between Oko and Juliette.

ü He
convinces the family members to believe that Oko is a great man.

 CONTENT

THEMES

Themes
means main ideas, view of the story. The play writer i.e Guillaume Oyono Mbia
is conveying the moral message to the society. The following are central ideas
which are in the play of “Three Suitors
One Husband”,
these are:

1. BRIDE PRICE

Bride
price is things of valuable which are paid to female’s parents before marriage.
Traditionally it is very important in the society that man pay bride price so
as to have a wife.

In this play the playwright shows Ndi paid 100,000 francs as
bride price for marrying Juliette. Also the playwright shows Mbia the great
civil servant pays 200,000 francs as bride price for marrying Juliette.

2. POLYGAMY

Polygamy
means a man to marry more than one wife. In this play the playwright shows that
people in Mvoutessi are polygamous and this makes women become more inferior.

The writer shows Mbia has eight wives and still wants to marry Juliette. Also
Mbarga the head of the village has twelve wives. Polygamy is a sign of prestige
among men in this society.

3. SUPERSTITION   

In
this play the writer shows Mbarga and Atangana called the witch doctor who
known as Sanga – Titi to come in the village and discover a thief who stole the

bride price which paid by Ndi and Mbia. The witch doctor cheats people by using
his antelope’s horns and magic mirror. He fails to discover a thief instead
cheating the villagers and demands many gift, hence the villagers chase him
away.

4. FORCED MARRIAGE

In
this play the playwright shows Atangana wants to marry his daughter Juliette to
Mbia by force. This is because of the wealth which Mbia has. Atangana expects

to have so many things from Mbia when he succeeds to marry her daughter Juliette.
But Juliette rejects him and accepts Oko who is her best choice.

5. IRRESPONSIBILITIES

In
this play the playwright shows Mbarga as a head of the village at Mvoutessi. He
recognizes that Mbia and Juliette are related family in which their parents


come from Yembong tribe, but he still convinces the villagers and family
members to accept Mbia’s proposal of marrying Juliette because he is the
special man.

6. MISUSE OF POWER

In
this play the playwright shows that the ruling class like Mbia Misuse his power
by despises the villagers and keeps on cheating them. When he is asked to pay
more 100,000 francs as bride price, Mbia threatens to come with ten police


commissioners in which obviously impossible. He says: “The roads are poorly kept and the houses are not being white washed in
expectation of the honour of my visit”.

7. ROLE AND POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE SOCIETY

 Position of woman is
the social status of women within the society in accordance with traditional
attitude dictated by the culture of the society. 

 Role of women are
the cultural obligations and responsibilities of the female members of any society.

 These
position and role of women are as follows:

 (a)
Women are considered as weak sexes.

In
this play the playwright shows parents of Julliette choose the suitor for their
daughter to marry without consulting her over it. This brings conflict and great

loss when Julliette resists their decision by choosing Oko, as her fiancé
instead of the rich man Mbia whom her parents proposed for her.  

(b)
Women are treated as a tool of sexual pleasure.

In
this play the playwright shows Mbia, the senior civil servant has eight wives
and still wants to marry Julliette to be his ninth wife.

This means that he
intends to use his power and money to get sexual satisfaction from the young
girl Juliette.

(c)
Women have the role of taking care of the family.

In
this play the playwright shows Makrita, Atangana’s wife, works in farm until
very late. Also Ondua’s wife, Monica distills Arki which is an illegal drink in
order to take care of her husband Ondua and her daughter Matalina.

(d)
Women are treated as source of income in the society.

In
this play the playwright shows Juliette’s parents mainly Atangana intends to
offer his daughter Juliette to a person who has highest bride price.

This is
done in order to secure enough money for drinks and clothes. Also Atangana is
seen wants to take Juliette to Yaounde in order to get rich man to marry his
daughter.

8. CONFLICT

(a)      

Conflict between Sanga – Titi Vs the villagers.

This
conflict emerged after the witch doctor, Sanga – Titi who came at the village
to discover the stolen money failing to show people where the money is.

He
cheated the villagers and enriches himself by demanding very valuable things.
The villagers chase him away.

 (b)
Conflict between Julliette Vs her parents.

This
conflict caused by Juliette personal decision. She annoys the family when she
decides to refuse to marry the suitor whom they have chosen her.

She annoys
them more when she mentioned that she has already got her lover called Oko who
is still student. The parents are angry because Oko is just a poor student
hence cannot help them. 

 (c)
Conflict between Ndi, Mbia Vs Atangana and his family.

This
conflict emerges after the money which paid by Mbia and Ndi as bride price
being stolen. Atangana convinces them to increase the money in order to have Juliette.


This act annoys Mbia and Ndi to an extent that they want to call policemen and
arrest Juliette’s family.

 (d)
Conflict between Atangana Vs Makrita.

This
conflict emerges when Makrita comes home late from the farm. She arrives with a
basket full of cassava, banana, sugar cane then Atangana blames her that she
teaches Juliette such disgraceful behaviour.  

9. EATING ETIQUETTE

The
author shows that traditionally children are supposed to observe eating
manners. When eating the elders are heard scolding the children who don’t eat
properly. Good eating manner among children have to be observed.

10.             RELIGION AND BELIEF

Most
of the villagers in this play still keep many traditional beliefs. They believe
in their gods and spirits such as owls and chimpanzees represent the evil


spirit of the past and they believe strongly in the power of their dead
ancestors who watch over the society from the spirit world. Thus also they
believe in the power of the witch doctors like Sanga-Titi.

11.   TABOOS

These
are something omitted to be used in the society traditionally. The writer shown
that women are not allowed to eat vipers and young man may eat only by special


permission for example, Mbarga complains of young people Belinga and Owono
because of eating viper without elder’s permission also educated ones like Oko,
Julliette and Kouma were seen eating vipers without permission.

12.  ECONOMY

The
people of Mvoutesis village depend much on agriculture as their economic
mainstay of the village. The main crops are plantations, corn and groundnuts,
which are the basis of their diet. Woman are the main producers in the farm and


this is justified by the delay of Atangana’s wife who has not come back early
from the farm. She arrives from the farm with a basket full of Cassava, Banana
and Sugarcane.

13.    TRADITIONAL

This
is the normal ways of conducts of the particular society. The author is showing
traditions divided into two such as African Tradition and European Traditional.

(a)
African Tradition refers to the way in
which Africans use to live within their continents e.g. Religion, bride price,
Taboos, superstition, traditional dance, polygamy, oppressing moment etc.

(b)
European Tradition. These traditions
are represented by educated people like, Oko, Julliette and Kouma for being
against the African Traditions for example. Educated ones opposed forced
Marriage since they are seen convinces relatives to hers to Julliette’s views
so that she can choose her suitor (fiancé).

MESSAGES

i.
Some traditions and customs are
outdated, hence they should be changed and the marriage matters should be left
for those who want to marry.

ii.
Children and young should not make
decisions on their own without involving their elders. They might make wrong
decisions if they do things without elder’s minds.

iii.
Education is very important in bringing
changes at any society. It makes people to be conscious in different matters
and easily identify how to solve them.

iv.
Illiterate people are very difficult to
change and do not understand easily the need for changes. Some oppose changes
because of being suspicious about new changes.

RELEVANCE OF THE PLAY TO THE SOCIETY

The
play is relevance to the society because, there are several things that the
author has portrayed in the play which are similar relevant to those occurs in
the society. For example:

i.
Parents are forcing their children to
marry selected suitors like Julliette

ii.
Many people are in contradiction
because of copying new traditions from abroad.

iii.
Education now days liberating people
from being illiteracy to awareness for example, Oko, Kouma and Julliette.

iv.
In our society children (youth) are not
allowed to break taboos of eating vipers.

v.
Many people believe to witch crafts
that changes can happen if goods are involved e.g. Villagers believe that Sanga-Titi
would discover who stole the money.

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