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1.2   Background to the Study

Through the act of writing, radical and rational African creative writers, for many years, since the 1950s have taken the chance to condemn the follies and the vices in their societies. In Nigeria, great writers have frown at and fought against corruption, bad rulership, dictoria policies, women oppression, moral decadence and societal disturbances such as religious intolerant, with a view to making positive changes which might upgrade or accelerate human and material development  in the nation and the world at large.


The primary objective of these committed African writers is the genuine struggle for cultural and socio-political revolution using literary activities as a platform. The different peoples of the world are made to understand the African world view through writing, both now and before independence.

It is by the act of writing that many scholars say and believe that literature mirrors the society. This implies that the historical, social, political, economical and religious aspects of man are viewed through literature.  These aspects of human are easily portrayed through literature by employing the three genres of literature: prose, poetry and drama (play).

This research focuses on drama as one of the generic form of literature which is used in revealing the vices of religious leaders as seen in the text to be discusses in this study.

The term drama comes from the Greek word drama meaning action. Which is derived from the verb drao meaning “to do” or to “act”.  The Ancients Greek philosopher Aritstotle used this  term in a very influential  treatise called the poetics. In the text, Aristetle classified different forms of poetry according to basic features he thought could be commonly recognized in their composition. He used the term “drama”  to describe peotic composition that were acted in front of audiences in a theaton.


In addition , satire is any literary writing that uses devices such as irony. It is a text or performance that uses irony, derision or wit to expasesor attack human vice, carelessness or stupidity.

The reliance of satire is to ridicule the ills of an individual or institution with the aim of correcting and transforming the society. It helps to mould individual’s character and and it also exposes the point of weakness of a particular society. Social satire is prominent in Wole Soyinka’s  Trial of Brother of Jero and the Road, where he satirizes the vices pose by religious leader to the society (these vices are writed to Christian religion).


Vices are forms of evil, wicked and criminal actions or behaviours in the society. They are social problems and have been thought of as social situations that a large number of obsers feel are inappropriate and need remedying. Vices are those acts and conditions that violate societal norms and values.

Using what was presumed as the universal criteria “normality sociologists commonly assumed that social “pathology” was the consequence of bad people. Social problems resulted from the actions maladjusted people who were abnormal because of education or incomplete socialization. These ‘social palliologist’ assumed that the basic norms of society are universally held. In this absolutist vices, social problems are behaviours or social arrangements that disturb the moral order (Eitzen, 1980:126).



Nigerian society is a highly dynamic one. The dynamism gives rise to new issue of public interest. It also generate new problems and pose daunking challenges for which the society and it people cannot over looks. If there is any issue that is most pressing in the minds of people as far as religion is concerned today, it is that pertaining to the quality or standard of religion practiced in their society.

The standard and quality of religion ( especially Christianity) have been maned and tararted by the so called religious leaders (though not all). This decadence is what Soyinka satirizes in his dramatic works used in this study.


Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence. In the religious realm, John R, Mott defines a leader as one who knows the road, who can keep ahead, and who pulls others after him (P346). P T. chandapilla, an Indian students’ leader, defines religious leadership as:

A vocation where there is a perfect blending of qualities that are both human and spiritual, or a harmonized working of God and man, given over to the ministry and blessing of other people (p  122).


From the political angle, president Truman’s definition was, ‘a leader s a person who has the ability to get others to do what they don’t want to do, and like it’ ( J. O. Sanders, and p.22).

Who a thorough scuttling into the definitions of leadership above, it is generally viewed and accepted that the life style of a leader can affect the society either positively or negatively depending on how he carries the people along. Through this observation, this research will take the chance to address the issue of vices f religious leaders as portrayed in Wole Soyinka’s Trial of Brother Jero and the Joad to bring about effective change in our contemporary society.


1.2     Statement of the Problem  

It has been observed that the society id facing series of ill which emanate from the decadent of morality. Morality is a principles concerning right and along or good and bad behavior, it is a system of moral principles followed by a particular group of people in a given society. Therefore, this study is to address the life style of religious leaders and how they affect the society.

Since literature is not just an act of entertainment and education, but also a means of ridiculing the society, this study is to examine the rate at which literature is a ‘watch man’ to the society as potrayed by Wole Soyinka.


From the view point of Wole Soyinka’s play, this study is to investigate the vices of brother Jero and the reactions of those he shepherd.

Moreover, this study, also is to investigate the religious vices in the conflict of professor and the bishop in the road and how the floor members reacted.


1.3     Purpose of the Study     

i         To find out the level at which the society is negatively affected by the practices of religious leaders.

ii        To examine the influence of religious leaders’ on the society.

iii      To showcase the relevance of satire as a means of correcting societal ills.

iv       To investigate the place of literature in human society.

vi.     To investigate the vices of Jero portrayed by Whole Soyinka in Trial of Brother Jero.

vii.     To examine the nature of vices and how they mar the society’s


1.4     Research Questions

i         What negative life style do religious leader pose to the people around themes

ii        How does Wole Soyinka satirizes religious leaders and their vices in Trial of Brother Jero and Road?

iii       To what extent do religious leaders influence the society?

iv       How does literature helps in the reformation of human society?


1.5     Research Methodology

In this study, the fact in discourse will be looked upon through the sociological approaches which views of religious leaders in Wole Soyinka’s The Trail of Brother Jero and the Road.

Also, textbooks, journals and internet shall be consulted for data collection. The tools used by Soyinka to satirize in his works used in this study will be examine.

This study is divided into five parts. The first part-chapter one deals with the introduction, it includes also, the statement of problem, purpose of study and other part of chapter one.

Also, chapter two is the review of related literature. Thereafter, chapter three will be on the analysis of Wole Soyinka’s Trial of Brother Jero and Road and other things that follow. Chapter four deals with the analysis of Trial Road. While chapter five is the conclusion and a belief summary of this study. Comparative analysis of the trials of brother Jero and a play of giants.


1.6     Significance of the Study

This work is not mainly for the purpose of reading alone but for the purpose of solving the everyday emerging societal problems.

Also, this study is meant to add useful literacy contributing to the existing body of knowledge in this field and to serve as useful consultation in this field of study for further searcher.


1.7     Score and Limitation

The information in this research centres around the topic ‘vices of religious leader.’ The data is limited to the texts

comparative analysis of the trials of brother Jero and a play of giants as a primary source of data. Also, information from textbooks, journals and internet will serve as the secondary source of data.




In this chapter, the review of related literature will focus on the following under listed headings:


2.1     The Concept of Literature

Meyer and Jim (1997:41) are of the potion that literature in its boarders sence, is any kind of written piece of work. In more restrictive form, it is an art (imaginative expression of ideas of feelings) or intellectual value in respect to its language which is highly elevated from the ordinary usage.

Etymologically, the term is rooted from the Latin word literature/literature, which derives itself from littera meaning letter or hand writing. It was used to refer to all written accounts. For the fact that our contemporary society is dynamic in terms of knowledge. The concept of literature has changed in meaning.  It has come to embrace non- written verbal art forms, and thus, it is difficult to agree on its origin which can be paired with that that of writing itself.


The definition of literature various over time. According to Meyer and Jim  (p.41), It is because it has no specific meaning gene rally recognized  by scholars in the world. There have been various attempts to define literature by various authors based on their views and perspectives on literature. Simon and Delyse Ryan begins their attempt to give answer to the question, ‘ what is literature?’ with the observation that:

The quest to discover a definition for literature is a road that is much travelled, though the point of arrival, if ever reached, is seldom satisfactory. Most attempted definition are board and vague, and they inevitably change over time.


In fact, the only thing that is certain about defining literature is that the definition will change. Concepts of what is literature changes over time as well (p.2).

Drawing an inference from the assertion above, it has been observed that the definition of literature varies over time. It has culturally relative definitions.

Prof. D. Motaze postulates that literature is an artistic work that accommodates a flexible and heterogeneous class of language that can be found in prose, drama, essays and biographies, according to the various epochs to this except, it can be said that literature as a flexible and heterogeneous class of language which can be found in genies of literature is in correlation with Sapir –Worf hypothesis on the relationship of language and culture.

Language and culture are inseparable (closely related) according to D. Eka (2000:31), This is because a specific human communication is legitimately an inseparable part of a people’s general ways of life in sociological or anthropological terms: Therefore, literature accommodates a flexible and heterogeneous class of language in the sense that the nature of our society, in terms of culture, traditions, beliefs and others, are rightly expressed and reflected in language.

Another way defining literature is to limit it to great books, books which, whatever their subject, are notable for literary form or expression. Here the criterion is either aesthetic worth a lone or aesthetic worth in combination with general intellectual distinction.


Within lyric, poetry, dram, and fiction, the greatest works are selected on aesthetic grounds; other books are picked for their reputation or intellectual eminence together with aesthetic value of a rather narrow kind: style, composition, general force of presentation are the usual characteristics singled out. This is a common way of distinguishing or speaking of literature.


By saying that, this is not literature, we express such a value judgment; making the same judgment when we speak of a book on history, philosophy or science as belonging to literature. In addition, they concluded that the term literature seems best if limited to the art of literature, that is, to imaginative literature (p.20-28).

Since value judgment definition of literature considers exclusively those writings that posses high quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres (fine writing) tradition, being the sort of definition used in the Encyclopaedia Britanica Eleventh edition (1910-11) when it classifies literature as:

The best expression of the best thought reduced to writing. The problem in this view is that there is no objective definition of what constitutes literature. Anything is written form can be literature, and anything which is universally regarded as literature has the potential to exclude since value judgment can change overtime.

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email:

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