DRAMATIZATION OF MORAL DECADENCE
IN IYORWUESE HAGHER’S AISHATU.
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND LITERATURE
The entire work is a reflects the social and political situation of our present day society. This work is therefore geared towards presenting how these socio-political situation is dramatized in Aishatu as moral decadence.
The first chapter, an introductory chapter is designed to give a background to the concept of moral decadence, placing emphasis on the meaning of morals and decadence. This emphasis is achieved by making references to scholastic reviews on the topic. The chapter gives an insight to the work, and ends with a thesis statement.
The second chapter explores the manifestation of moral decadence in the text. It presents themes that entails vice pattern of behaviour and inordinate crave for wealth.
Chapter three presents the enthronement of moral value as opposed to moral decadence. It presents the disapproval of vice pattern of behaviour and such remedied.
Chapter four, conclusion, sums up the entire work by assessing the extent to which moral decadence has been manifested in the text. It also throws light on the enthronement of these moral weakness with strong moral value.
It concludes by evaluating the text as a practical reality that portrays the socio-political and moral ills of our Nigerian society.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vii
1.1 Purpose of Study
1.2 Scope of Study
1.4 Review of Criticism
1.4.1 Life and Works of the Author
1.5 Thesis Statement
Moral Decadence in Aishatu
2.1 Armed Robbery
2.2 Lack of Integrity
2.3 Sexual Laxity
2.4 Drug Use
2.5 Materialist Tendencies
2.6 Drug Trafficking
Enthronement of Moral Values as against Moral
Decadence in Aishatu
3.1 The Role of Education
3.3 The Role of Law
3.4 The Role of Good Leadership
1.1 Purpose of Study
This essay discusses the dramatic representation of moral decadence in Iyorwuese Hagher’s Aishatu. It examines the portrayal of decay moral standard in characters who choose vices as patterns of behaviour. This work also points out the playwright’s suggestion as the remedy to the social malaise.
Scope of Study
In this work, I am going to analyze the issue of moral decadence as presented in Aishatu by first looking at the views of other scholars in relation to the topic. The anchor of this work is to establish the reality of moral decadence in the play, and the remedy to the social vices.
To achieve my purpose, I made use of the library to equip me with relevant materials for the analysis of my work.
1.4 Review of Criticism
1.4.1 Life and Works of the Author
Iyorwuese Hagher is a renowned writer in African literature especially in his plays. After obtaining his Ph.D in theatre and Drama at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he taught at his Alma Mater and at the University of Jos, Jos.
Born and bred in Nigeria (Tiv land precisely), Hagher carries the culture and world view of the Tiv people of Benue State. Iyorwuese Hagher entered politics while yet an academic and was elected into Nigeria’s upper legislative house, as Senator and Deputy Chief Whip of Senate, representing Benue-East Constituency in 1983. He was again elected into the constitutional conference of 1994 – 1995. In 1995, he was appointed Minister of State, Power and Steel. He was reappointed Minister of Health in 1997 where he introduced a bold plan to incorporate drama and performance in the fight against HIV-AIDS in Nigeria.
In most of his writings, Hagher is concerned with the issue of leadership in Africa, and search for solutions to Africa’s socio-political problems. His preoccupation ranges from drug abuse, sexual immorality, corruptions and many social ills as presented in Aishatu, and female genital mutilation, HIV/AIDS to rest of other ills.
His memorable plays like Aishatu, Anti-people, and lifetime is a reflection of our Nigerian society. His play presents the contemporary realities of our age. He takes a look on the society a writes plays that reflect the society. His experience as a university teacher gave him a close study of students behaviour helped him to write the play We Protest. Later as a Minister of Power and Steel, he wrote the play Comrade and Voltage in which he talks about issue of massive power outrage in Nigeria. Has other published works, include The Prisoner’s Dream (2002), Beyond Hate and Violence, Leading Africa Out of Chaos, Leadership and Governance in Nigeria, The Tiv kwagh-hir, and The Development of Community Theatre. He has eleven published works.
Hagher is recipient of Nigeria’s National Honour, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), the founder and Honorary President of Leadership Institute of Nigeria. He is fellow Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists, and Fellow Institute of Management Consultants. A member and Director of the Association of Nigerians Against Corruption (ANAC).
He has been Ambassador of Nigeria to Mexico, and Concurrent to Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. He is presently Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada.
The mentor and statesman whose literary works has contributed to the growth and development of African theatre turn sixty one on June 25, 2010.
1.4.2 Review of Related Scholarship
This essay discusses the dramatization of moral decadence in Aishatu. The play portrays a decay in moral standard, and values as characters choose vice as patterns of behaviour by indulging in disapproving social conducts.
Dramatization is used to refer to method of re-enactment of incidence and ideas for the audience. The Lexicon Webster Dictionary also defines dramatization as “an act of dramatizing; construction or representation in dramatic form”. From the above definitions, one can say that dramatization includes, putting down on paper various happenings as play which are in turn acted.
The dramatization of moral decadence in Aishatu is about the unconventional patterns of life as portrayed by characters in the play.
According to The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (6th edition), decadence is:
(disapproving) beahviour, attitudes, etc which show a fall in standards especially moral ones, and an interest in pleasure and enjoyment rather than more serious things.
This definition classifies decadence as a decay in morality. The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary on the other hand says decadence is:
The state of having low or immoral standards of behaviour etc.
With the above dictionary definitions, the question that logically arises is: What is moral?
Scholars in philosophy, psychology and even theology have agreed that it is quite difficult to produce a water tight definition of morals. However, they all agree that morality concern principles of right or wrong behaivour.
Wikipedia online sees morality as “a system of conduct and ethics that is virtuous” (qtd ask.com). In same way, the catholic wikipedia presents morality as “antecedent to ethics”. It defines morality as:
Human conduct subordinated to the ideal of what is right and fitting.(qtd ask.com).
O’Kane (1994) identifies that Aristotle views “moral virtues” as the bases of morality. He explains the classical scholars view that morality is developed through habits”. He quotes Aristotle as placing morality in a social context thus:
“the habits of virtue are acquired through regular interaction with others in social situations. For instance, it is by acts done in transactions with others that men became just and unjust. (11) (quoted in Stephen O’Kane).
Aristotle in O’Kane (1994) further describes man as “a social animal who needs a society; and a society is made up of individuals. It is right to say that the state of a society is a result of the operation of men in that society.
Hinde (2002) observes that:
Morality concerns the distinction between good and evil, and “morals” are usually taken to refer to rules about what people ought to do and what they ought not to do (3).
With the above quotes, one might be tempted to ask: What is just or unjust?
Aristotle in the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle asserts that:
we are composed of a rational part and irrational part, and proper moral character consists in having the irrational elements controlled by the rational elements.
This presents a moral character as possessing self-discipline.
Aristotle adds that:
Men must rather be well trained and habituated, under the guidance of the community’s laws, customs and education, and the discipline of the family (qtd in The Cambridge Companion…).
The need for obedience of the laws of the state is established, while the role of education in training a character with good attitudes presented, and the role of a family is noted in the above quote.
Aristotle concludes that:
Morally strong men manage to do the right thing despite the fact that their emotions are incorrectly adjusted and they must struggle with bad impulse (qtd in The Cambridge Companion…).
It is noteworthy to say that moral virtues are developed by training in appropriate behaviour.
The difference of modern concepts of morality from the classical scholar Aristotle is explained by Larmore in O’Kane (1994) in terms of obligatory rules instead of virtue as the expression of good character and judgment (12).
Zimmerman (1996) points out the anchor of morality. He explains that morality concerns claim that one ought to do the best one can (1).
Wrongful act upon an individual or a society, that hurts others and violates their rights opposes moral standard. Plato describes characters that perpetuate wrongful acts in Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd Ed. Vol. II, (H-O) as:
A morally defective character is in itself a harm to its possessor…. (653).
This statement becomes true as we are presented with the resultant effect of Aishatu’s use of drugs in Aioshatu.
The decadent characters in Aishatu lack zeal and will power to put in their best and seek to find easier and dubious means to success.
The presentation of moral decadence in Aishatu therefore justifies this essay topic.
1.5 Thesis Statement
This essay discusses moral decadence in Aishatu by examining such vices as armed robbery, lack of integrity, sexual laxity, drug use, material tendencies and drug trafficking which are paramount in the play, and recommends appropriate moral values from which a society can benefit.
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