The Gods Are Not To Blame By Ola Rotimi- Critical Analysis

The Gods Are Not To Blame By Ola Rotimi- Critical Analysis

The gods are not to blame: it tells the story of man’s struggle against destiny. This book pits free will against fate and demonstrates how the gods manipulate man’s destiny by using his weaknesses.

This play is an excellent adaptation of Sophocles OedipusRex. It’s set in Yoruba and is then internalized into the cosmos. This play is also rich in proverbs and demonstrates the Yoruba culture and beliefs before the arrival of Europeans and Arabians.

The Gods Are Not to Blame demonstrates how fate and man’s weaknesses conspire against him and set him on a downward spiral of bad luck. He is taken or runs closer to his fate of marrying his mother and killing his father. His restlessness and fiery temper drive him to fulfill his destiny.

While the play extols the virtues and leadership of patience and community responsibility, it also denounces the evils and distrust of anger.


Kutuje Land in the pre-colonial period is the setting for the play. The play’s major action takes place in Kutuje Palace’s precinct.

Intimate readers of Yoruba towns such as Oyo, Ife, and Ede are also provided with flashback techniques and snippets of conversation.

Kutuje’s people are mainly farmers and hunters. When necessary, they can also be warriors. They believe in Yoruba deities, and they act according to these beliefs. The cowry is their currency of the transaction. This proves that the play’s events occurred in an era of zero European presence and submerging civilizations in the hinterland Yoruba lands.

Summary of the Plot

King Adetusa of Kutuje Land and Ojuola, his wife, are happy to announce their newborn son, their first child. The parents bring their newborn child to Ogun, the god of iron, on the ninth day after his birth for blessings from the Ogun priest. To predict their son’s future, they use Baba Fakunle’s service, an able but blind Ifa priest, to guide them in keeping with Yoruba customs.

Divination shows that the Gods have cursed the boy. He will marry his mother and kill his father.

Gbonka, the Ogun priest’s special messenger, takes the boy to the evil forest to prevent this. The boy’s feet are tied with cowries, and he is to be sacrificed to the gods.

Ojuola and King Adetusa have another child two years later. This was a consolation for Obatala, the god of creation. They would soon forget about the child who died in the evil grove.

Thirty-two years after the birth of the child that would kill and marry his father, King Adetusa dies a brutal death. His kingdom is plunged into chaos and crisis. Ikolu’s people ransack Kutuje Land, doing iniquitous acts to its citizens. Kutuje Land is saved by an unknown member of the Ijekun Yemoja tribe.

He launches an attack on Ikolu Land and conquers its inhabitants to seize their lands for Kutuje. Odewale, the Ogundele-Mobike son, rescues Kutuje from the clutches of the Ikolu marauders. The people of Kutuje recognize his bravery and elect Odewale to be their King in recognition. Odewale marries Abero and inherits Ojuola as his wife. Odewale, Ojuola, and their four children are two boys and two daughters.

Odewale has ruled Kutuje Land for eleven years in peace and prosperity. Everything turns south after that. The land is ravaged by disease and death. People bring their grievances, pain, and grief to the King. It seems as though he isn’t doing anything.

Here, Odewale displays good leadership qualities. He listens to them and ensures they understand that he is not immune from the plague that decimated the country. The sickness has also affected his children. He motivates them to take action and informs them that he is also doing his part to improve their situation. Aderopo, his husband’s son, has been sent to Ife by Aderopo to find the root cause of the disease sweeping the country and the solution.

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Aderopo is back from Ife with more puzzles. A man who murdered former King Adetusa is the reason for the plague. Kutuje Land has been affected by the presence of a murderer.

Aderopo initially resists the idea of revealing this information in public. Aderopo wants to speak to King Odewale privately, but Odewale’s attempt to convince his followers that he is active and has nothing to hide prevents Aderopo from retaining the message as a private matter. Aderopo relays all information to the public at Odewale’s insistence. Aderopo is willing to travel to Oyo and bring Baba Fakunle (the old Ifa priest blind) to solve the puzzle. He agrees to his request.

Odewale finishes Act One with a riddle. He solves the mystery surrounding King Adetusa’s death and reveals the murderer responsible for many problems facing the Kutuje community.

He hears many speculations about Adetusa’s death during his investigation. Adetusa, his mother’s land close to Ede, was where he was killed. When he was shot and killed, Adetusa was accompanied by five bodyguards. Only one of them could inform the public about the murder of the King. Fearful of being murdered by Kutujes, the others fled.

The Gods Are Not To Blame By Ola Rotimi

Odewale is more suspicious about the people around him. He says that if people conspired to kill one of their own, they would spare anyone who is not from their country. They are directly accused of being complicit with Adetusa’s murder. Ogun swears by him that he will expose the murderer to public attention. Then, he promises to blind the perpetrator forever and expel him from Kutuje (the place of his birth) to live in darkness in the Land of Nowhere.

Act 2: Aderopo brings Baba Fakunle into the Kutuje palace to solve the mystery. Baba Fakunle is dismayed by King Odewale’s presence. In his blindness, the soothsayer refuses to speak of what he is privy to. Baba Fakunle accuses Odewale of complicity in King Adetusa’s murder. Baba Fakunle called him a bed sharer at the height of their confrontation. He says Odewale’s fiery temper is his downfall.

Your trouble-making hot temper is like a curse from birth.

Baba Fakunle in The Gods Are Not to Blame

Odewale charges Aderopo because Baba Fakunle insulted his mother after Baba Fakunle left. Aderopo is accused of hiring Baba Fakunle as a bed sharer and murderer of King Adetusa, Ojuola (Aderopo’s mother). Aderopo says he is innocent of these charges and that he has never done any such thing.

Their heated exchanges reveal that King Adetusa was killed by a man, according to Baba Fakunle’s divination, and not by a group of robbers, as the bodyguard who returned with them reported. Ojuola, the Ogun Priest, and others tried to intervene, but Odewale expelled Aderopo from their presence before they could. He vows to his eyes that he will never again see Aderopo until he dies. In full resentment, Odewale banishes Aderopo in this instance.

Queen Ojuola’s attempts to find the cause of Odewale’s fracas fail. Odewale assures Queen Ojuola that he will tell her later.

Act Three sees Alaka, Odewale’s childhood friend and master, visit him. He is also an Ijekun man, just like Odewale. His visit is intended to reduce tension. It only increases it.

Alaka tells Odewale how far he has searched for him. Alaka tells Odewale that he visited Ede, where he had promised him he would find him. But he couldn’t. Alaka questions Odewale about his trust in him.

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Odewale, on the other hand, claims he was in Ede and had a large farm where he grew yam tubers. He then explains the reasons for his abrupt departure from Ede. He had murdered an old man who had encroached on his farmland. He claimed it as his mother’s land for insulting his tribe. Odewale ran from the scene where he was convicted and fled to Kutuje.

Alaka is the first person Odewale tells about this incident. Odewale continues to search for the murderer of King Adetusa.

Queen Ojuola tries to get Odewale to explain his fight with Aderopo. Odewale agrees to her this time. He tells her about Aderopo’s use of Baba Fakunle as a bed sharer and murderer to get him out of his place.

Ojuola advises him not to take the Ifa priest too seriously. Odewale prompts her to tell the story of how Odewale made her kill her first child because he was bad luck. The priest who claimed her husband’s blood had killed him also claimed he died when she was pregnant.

Odewale hears this and summons the chiefs. He seems to be close to uncovering the crime of the century. Each chief has a different version of what happened to King Adetusa’s death.

Three of King Odewale’s bodyguards, Agidi Labata, Akilapa, and Labata, are instructed by King Odewale to bring Gbonka to the King’s funeral. Gbonka is the only one of King Adetusa’s five companions that returns to the King to report the news. He is the missing piece. Gbonka is located in Ipetu, so the guards set off for him.

The following scene shows Alaka telling Odewale about the death of Ogundele, his father, and his mother’s aging. Odewale is delighted to hear this. He is filled with joy and summons everyone back to the palace, telling Alaka to tell them the good news.

The chiefs console their King’s son upon hearing the news, but Odewale cuts them off.

He uses his own life as an example to show them that “soothsayers and oracles and gods are not trusted”; they are liars. Through the flashback technique, he takes them down to an incident that occurred while he was still living with Ogundele. His father was at his farm with Alaka when his brother approached him. Odewale met the man and greeted him. However, the man replied that he thought he was a butterfly. Odewale was compelled to question his identity by this statement. Odewale went to the Ifa priest to ask him: “Am I not who you are?”

He was cursed, the priest said to him. He was cursed to marry his mother and kill his father. The priest also advised him not to fight against his fate. He should remain where he is. Odewale couldn’t stomach the idea of marrying his mother and killing his father. He ran.

Alaka is shocked that Odewale fled his home to escape this. Ogundele, Mobike, and his mother are not his biological parents. They are his adopted parents. He realizes the full meaning of the sentence from his presumed father’s brother. He calls himself a bird, but he is a butterfly.

Alaka begs for forgiveness, but Odewale wouldn’t have it. He is overcome with anger and fury, insisting that Alaka tell him his true parents. Alaka, under much coercion, tells Odewale how he was picked in Ipetu Village’s bush. Ojuola, the Ogun Priest, and Alaka exchange knowing glances. The Ogun Priest stops Alaka from continuing with his revelation. Odewale wouldn’t have it.

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Alaka further reveals that when he was picked up, Odewale was tied to his feet and arms with cowries strings. Ojuola collapses and screams as he has just finished this detail. Odewale is now her unfortunate child left behind in the bush to die 43 years ago. Odewale insists that they remain, despite the Ogun Priest wanting to remove her.

Odewale quizzes Alaka about the identity of the man who abandoned him in the bush. Alaka is busy trying to get the truth out of the Ogun Priest.

Alaka finally identifies “Gbonka,” the man who took Odewale into a bush. Meanwhile, Labata, Agidi, and Akilapa have returned to Gbonka.

Odewale asks Gbonka about King Adetusa’s death. Contrary to his twelve-year-old story about a band of robbers killing Adetusa, he tells Odewale that a man and not robbers murdered Adetusa.

Odewale then questions Gbonka about Alaka. Gbonka, after some memory juggling and difficulty, identifies Alaka as the master to whom he gave a baby boy in the Ipetu market. Alaka recognizes Odewale, the child Gbonka gifted to his master Ogundele.

Odewale quickly realizes, much to his dismay, that he is the child of Ojuola, with whom he had been married for many years, with whom he has four kids. He was married to his mother, and King Adetusa was his father.

Ojuola, who couldn’t bear the heavy burden of abomination, kills himself with a knife. Odewale uses that same knife to gouge his eyes. Aderopo is sent to apologize for his suspicions.

Aderopo says that’s how the gods intended things to be. Odewale, however, defends the gods. He considers himself the architect of his destiny. According to Odewale, the gods capitalized only on his weakness. He said that the gods used his weakness to make him kill his father. Odewale says that the gods wouldn’t have made him kill his father if he had been more rational.

Odewale, who is now blind, requests the chiefs to honor his mother and give her a burial of honor. After his four children have escaped incest, Odewale embarks on an exile. He gives his last directive to kings instructing them not to follow him or stop. This is the burden he claims he must carry.

Dramatic Techniques

Flashback can be used as a dramatic technique in the text. It serves as a linker to the play’s plot. The playwright uses flashbacks to explore the murder of King Adetusa and the circumstances surrounding Odewale’s birth.

Flashbacks can also reveal information to the characters and the audience at the appropriate stages.

Foreshadowing is another popular dramatic technique in The gods is not to blame. It sets the scene for the play. It reveals what we can expect for the future. The audience is not surprised when Adetusa identifies Odewale as Odewale, the first son of Ojuola, who was cursed to kill his father.

In the beginning stages of the play, Mime, as well as monologue, were also used. The narrator and Odewale later narrate the story, but other characters mimic their actions. The monologue is best exemplified by the solo talk of Odewale and the Narrator.

Dramatic irony is also present in the play. This is evident in the scene where Odewale tries to uncover his identity. At some point, however, the Ogun priest tries to stop Odewale because he is certain that he is Odewale based on the details. Baba Fakunle and Queen Ojuola can reveal who Odewale is to the audience based on the prophecy. Odewale doesn’t know who he is until he reaches the end of his identity search.

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