The Gods Are Not To Blame

Scene from Ola Rotimi, The Gods Are Not To Blame. Source Oxfors Schorlaship online
Scene from Ola Rotimi, The Gods Are Not To Blame. Source Oxfors Schorlaship online After the first paragraph is an audio of a jingle for the play’s performance

The Gods Are Not To Blame is a classic play by Ola Rotimi set in 15th Century western region of Nigeria, in which Odewale, a man destined to kill his father and marry his mother finds himself in a mill of events that brings about the very thing that was meant from his birth to be averted. The play points out within its lines that destinies are not decided by gods but individuals as Odewale replied the man who agonizes over the misfortune that befell him; “No, no! Do not blame the gods. Let no one blame the powers. My people, learn from my fall…….”



Ola Rotimi in this 1968 play skilfully transplanted the Greek classic, Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, into Nigerian reality, using a traditional African setting and characters. Odewale’s father has been read allegorically as an aggressive colonialist, and his mother as the colonialist’s heritage. Ola Rotimi implies with his play that while the elimination of the political power of the colonizer is easy, cultural colonization may have come to stay. The fluid movement of the well-handled plot of the play from start to finish enhanced the rhythm of the book, thereby serving to capture and hold the reader’s attention. Although the play’s style has been criticized, there is unanimity among theatre scholars over suitability of Ola Rotimi’s choice of words in this play, as it is in his other major plays. The Gods Are Not To Blame was used as a textbook for GCE “A” level English literature.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer