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Symbolism of Butterflies: Death and the Kings Horseman

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Symbolism of Butterflies: Death and the Kings Horseman

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  • May 2006
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At the theater department's performance of Wole Soyinka's "Death and the Kings Horseman", the cast performed with great agility, and paying attention to detail and a full embodiment of the symbolism and metaphoric depth of the text. When asked about the meaning of the play, the author stated "The Colonial Factor is an incident, a catalytic incident merely. The confrontation in the play is largely metaphysical, contained in the human vehicle which is Elesin and the universe of the Yoruba mind - the world of the living, the dead, and the unborn." The definition of metaphysical according to wordwed.com, is having to do with metaphysics, with further research metaphysics is the philosophical study of being and knowing. Metaphysics refers to the branch of philosophy that attempts to understand the fundamental of nature and of all reality, whether visible or invisible, the science of the principles and causes of all things existing; the philosophy of mind as distinguished from that of matter. In the production at UNCG, the performance and directorial choices were very conducive of the metaphysical exploration. Through the cultural symbolism of butterflies and the production's use of drumming and music, the design of the sets, and the dress and positioning of the village women, the play's purpose and point was beautifully conveyed. (The Butterfly Effect) It has only been recently that science has acknowledged a difference between the species of butterflies and moths. In the small West Virginia town of Point Pleasant, the locals have a legend that seems to strike a chord of similarity with this production of Soyinka's play. The natives have the legend of a giant ‘moth-man', a moth like creature, which shows up to forewarn the town members of impending dangers not yet a factor. ( The real story of the Moth-man Prophecies) Butterflies and moths are attracted to the light of a fire or the heat of a flame. This creature takes the form of giant moth that is...