Death and the King's Horseman

Death and the King's Horseman Metaphors and Similes

Metaphor: Marketplace

The marketplace is a metaphor for life and death. It contains life and death within it.


The praise-singer says, "Your name will be like the sweet berry a child places under his tongue to sweeten the passage of food" (10).

Metaphor: The Not-I Bird

The story of the Not-I bird is a metaphor for humanity's fear of death and the unknown.

Metaphor: The Play Itself

The entire play is a metaphor for the clash between European and African cultures, religions, and societies, as seen in the clash between Elesin and Pilkings.

Metaphor: Sex

Sex is a metaphor for life-force, vitality, fertility, and the sustaining of the Nigerian people.