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WAR AND ITS RELATES AS DRAMATIC CONFLICTS IN SELECTED PLAYS OF A. B. CHUKUEZI AND G.O. ONYEKAQNWX

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 1.1      Background of the Study

War, the extreme case of conflict, has continually posed a threat to humanity. Its conduct extends along a continuum, from the almost universal primitive warfare that began well before recorded human history to this present developmental stage with ultimate potential for human extinction (Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia). War is seemingly inescapable and remains integral aspect of human culture. Its practice is not linked to any single type of political organization or society; rather it is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it (Keegan 1994).

The hope that the world would become a peaceful place with the end of World War II since 1945 has remained a mere dream, considering the number and intensity of war and violent conflicts which have been on the increase in different parts of the world.

War and conflict as social issues have attracted the attention of literary artists including the Igbo, who in their various works show-case aspects of life of any given society. This is why Moody (1968) describes literature as “a mirror through which the writer represents the society in its ideas and ideals, its thoughts, its visions and its way of life. Igbo literary artists have reflected war and conflict in different sizes and shapes in their works especially in drama.

Literature especially drama mirrors and exhibits life, and there is nothing good in life that comes easy. Through challenges and struggle, man strives to progress and climb the ladder of success. It is in the cause of this struggle that man tramples on another’s interests and values, which results to misunderstanding, hostile utterances, actions and responses that seek to put the other party in a disadvantaged position. Literature captures man’s actions and struggles since it mitates. Literature, especially drama, imitates actions and things in real life situations.  This is why Echeruo (1986:92) simply sees drama as “a re-enactment of life”. Echeruo’s definition incorporates the popular idea of imitation of action as advanced by Aristotle. Horn (1976:144) supports this position of drama being a mirror of life situation when he observes that “drama is then men acting out human situations for other men” Human situations here imply the totality of human conditions and experiences in real life contexts.

Considering the centrality of action to dramatic performances and conflict as the foundation of actions in drama, we examine how the plays of study have fared in the subject of discourse with special attention to war, conflict types, resolution techniques, character types in conflict situations, conflict signals/indicators and preventive measures, as well as the expression of conflict, and the effect of conflict on the people. The plays under study are Xdo Ka Mma and Akwa Nwa of A.B Chukuezi, and Xwa Ntqq and Qkx Xzx Daa Ibube of G.O Onyekaqnwx.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

        Conflict is central to drama; every good drama is expected to reflect one form of conflict or the other, sometimes series of conflicts. The success of any drama piece largely depends on the established conflicts and how they are resolved. The conflicts reflected in Igbo dramatic literature have not been adequately studied, hence this present study. There are few studies on the subject, in relation to Igbo dramatic literature. These studies are somewhat lop-sided; emphasis has been on identifying conflict types and adopted resolutions techniques, to the best of our knowledge, nothing has been said on conflict signals, conflict triggers, stages of conflict, and language use in dramatic conflict.

In view of the lapses, there is the need to carry out an in-depth and wider study on war and conflict in Igbo drama, which will go beyond the identification of conflict types and resolution, to investigate other vital issues of conflict studies such as conflict signals, conflict triggers, preventive measures, etc. In this study, we are going to investigate whether the playwrights reflect conflict signals in their works and if they do, how effective have they used these signals to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.

There is also the need to study, the effect of language in dramatic   conflict. There are languages of threat, languages that trigger violence in   conflict, languages of indifference, languages that calm tension and initiate peace talk in conflict situations. The study of language effect in conflict situation initiates the study of character types. This is because language is the expression of human thoughts (the content of the mind), human thoughts determine human actions, and language and action spell a character. The problems enumerated above have necessitated this study.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The objectives of the study include the following:

  1. To identify conflict types and resolution techniques adopted in the selected plays of Chukuezi and Onyekaqnwx.
  2. To examine conflict signals/indicators and explain how they are used to prevent, manage or aid conflict resolution in the study plays.

iii.       To determine the role of language in conflict and its resolution in the plays under study

  1. To identify and examine character types engaged in conflict situations in the plays under study.

1.4       Scope of the Study

            The study focuses on Igbo drama in general and in particular the plays of A.B. Chukuezi and G.O. Onyekaqnwx.  The plays of these two playwrights are selected to examine issues such as conflict types, conflict resolution techniques, conflict signals/ indicators, character types and language use in conflict situations. We will draw from other literary genre such as, prose, poetry and ancillary disciplines to literature such as sociology, psychology, history, etc. The four selected plays of these two playwrights include: A.B Chukuezi’s Udo Ka Mma (UKM) and Akwa Nwa (AN), G.O Onyekaqnwx’s Xwa Ntqqq (XN) and Qkx Xzx Daa Ibube (QXDI )

1.5       Delimitation of the Study

This study is about war and conflicts in Igbo literature and drama in particular, Igbo literature especially drama like the literature of every other literary culture has its peculiarities. In this work, we are concentrating on drama but not all drama texts in Igbo literature, but selected ones from the totals of the two playwrights mentioned in 1.4 . The choice of the playwrights and their four plays stem from the uniqueness and intensity of war and related conflicts they reflected in these works. Literature is all about conflict. Igbo literature unlike the western literatures has not received adequate attention on conflict studies. This lapse affects Igbo dramatic literature most, as conflict is central to drama, hence this study.

There is no research without limitations, in this study we encountered some. The major limitation is the dearth of materials on Igbo literature and conflict especially in Igbo drama. There are very few studies on dramatic conflict in Igbo literature, unlike what obtains in western literature and other fields in the social sciences. However we made use of the few available works in Igbo literature and drawing not only from other dramatic cultures but also from ancillary disciplines like sociology, psychology, political science, religion, etc.

Another limitation is that, most of Igbo dramas have not been performed on stage. Stage performance of drama tends to reveal so much about performance nuances, which one cannot discover only through textual reading. If we have watched the live performances of these plays under study, we would have been more equipped to identify hidden details in the written text. Live performance of drama texts offer the audience the ample opportunity to study details, especially, paralinguistic features.

 

1.6       Significance of the Study

            Most studies on war and related conflicts are in the social sciences, there are few conflict studies in Igbo literature, especially in drama. This work will provide a reference point for other researchers in Igbo literature and also increase the stock of materials in Igbo literature, especially in drama, in the area of conflict studies.

Since this study will identify conflict types and resolution techniques, it will help in identifying common conflict types and adopting suitable conflict resolution techniques which will assist in minimizing conflicts in our society. In essence, this work will enlighten people on the issues of conflict signals or indicators and plausible strategies or techniques for effective preventive measures.

This study will also educate the people on the effect of language use and types in conflict situations. That is languages that trigger violence, and hike tensions in conflict situations, languages that calm tensions or initiate peace processes.  This study will also help the society to identify character types in conflict situations, those behavioural dispositions that aggravate or calm conflict situations.

1.7       Methodology

Here, the procedures that guided us in both collecting and analyzing data in this study were considered. Unlike quantitative research where numbers and statistics are objectively collected and researchers feel safer, this study is more or less qualitative, and as such the intangibles such as war experiences, actions, feelings, beliefs and values are attempted to be measured. These peculiarities pose great challenges in adopting methods because the intangibles are difficult to measure and therefore project subjective results.

1.7.1   Method of Data Collection

      The library was our major sources of data collection in this work.  We made use of both primary and secondary data. The primary involves gathering and critically reading of the four plays under study as well as other literatures both in Igbo and English languages. The use of library helped us to have access to valuable information from the internet, articles and journals and other materials, which served as secondary sources of data. We also made use of critical works from ancillary disciplines to get critical views on war and conflict resolution.

1.7.2   Method of Data Analysis

The information collected was studied using Marxist theory with the adoption of a descriptive method of analysis, which looked at both actions and linguistic features in conflict situations. By so doing, conflict signals and triggers were determined with a view to seeing whether they have in any way helped in preventing war, managing or resolving conflict in the study texts. Since literature centers on the happenings in the society and conflicts emanate from class struggles and human relationships within the society, Marxist theory becomes relevant to the present study.

In studying language use in relation to conflicts in the study texts, we adopted the critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach. This method emanates from the field of social psychology in the 1970’s (Mills, 1997:20). The proponents of this theory include Norman Flair Clough and Ruth wodak (1995) and Thornborrow (1999). Critical discourse analysis, according to Norman (1995) is a study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice and focuses on the ways social and political domination are produced in text and talk. Critical discourse analysis holds that our words (both written and spoken) are not neutral; rather they are somewhat politicized, even if we are not aware of it. The words carry power that reflects the interest of those who speak (Henry and Tator, 2002).

In relation to the foregoing, the analysis is done based on a critical assessment of the words in the study texts that reveal conflicts and its resolution. In terms of characterization, the attitudinal behaviours and idiosyncracies of characters implicated in conflict and its resolution as shown in the study texts were also critically evaluated through subjecting them to Marxist analytical proposals.

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