Polygamy in Dramatic Texts: A Discussion around Postmodernism

Main Article Content

Rantimi Jays Julius-Adeoye
Rotimi Omosulu
Elizabeth Amarukhor Omoruyi
Idowu Oladimeji


This study looks at the representation of polygamous marriage in selected dramatic texts from Nigeria and juxtaposes it against global discussion on the acceptance of the "otherness" in society. It concludes that monogamy and polygamy (polygyny and polyandry) are systems of marriage practised in different cultures, most especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In the continent, marriage enjoys cultural, religious and constitutional backing. However, the focus of this paper is on polygamy in dramatic texts in relation to the social reality of the environment from which the texts emerged. The paper further narrows its interest down to three levels of contractual marriage in sub-Saharan Africa. It reveals that the traditional and religious marriage systems in sub- Saharan Africa embrace polygamy while state institutions or legal marriage system frowns at it. It is against this backdrop that this work adopts postmodernism as a theoretical framework to examine the place of polygamy in four African dramatic texts. The paper argues that postmodernist worldview has reinvigorated the practice of polygamy beyond the boundaries of Africa, Asia and of the adherents of the Islamic religion.

Postmodernism, monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, marriage, transculturalism, drama

Article Details

How to Cite
Julius-Adeoye, R., Omosulu, R., Omoruyi, E., & Oladimeji, I. (2019). Polygamy in Dramatic Texts: A Discussion around Postmodernism. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 9(2), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.9734/arjass/2019/v9i230119
Original Research Article


BBC. Germany polygamy: Minister says migrants must abide by the law; 2016.

Campbell A, Bala N, Duvall-Antonacopoulos K, MacRae L, Paetsch JJ, Bailey M, Kaufman, A. Polygamy in Canada: Legal and social implications for women and children A collection of policy research reports. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada; 2005.

Aylesworth G. Postmodernism. In Stamford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; 2015.
Available:https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/ (last visited: 09-12-2018).

Best S, Keller D. The postmodern turn. New York: The Guilford Press; 1997. Britannica. (n.d). Protestant Missions; 1500–1950

Kierkegaard S. Two ages: The age of revolution and the present age. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1978.

Mbiti JS. African religions and philosophy. London: Heinemann Pub; 1969.

KeenanL. Legalize polygamy: No. I am not kidding; 2013.
Available:http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/04/legalize_polygamy_marriage_ equality_for_all.html

Awolalu OJ, Adelumo DO. West African Traditional Religion. Ibadan: Onibonoje Press; 1979.

Ogoma DE. Reflection on an African Traditional Marriage System. Journal of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. 2014; 4(1):94-104.

Rotimi O. Our husband has gone mad again: a comedy. University Press Plc Nigeria; 1977.

Henrich J, Boyd R, Richerson PJ. The Puzzle of monogamous marriage. Philos Trans R Soc B. 2012;367: 657-669.
DOI: [10.1098/rstb.2011.0290]

Julius-Adeoye RJ. The drama of Ahmed Yerima: Studies in Nigerian Theatre. Leiden: LUCAS; 2013.

Adedeji JA. The church and the emergence of the Nigerian Theatre: 1915-1945. Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 1973;6(4):387-396.

Authorized King James Version; 1979. The Holy Bible. Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers.

Fenske African Polygamy: Past and Present; 2013.
Available: https://voxeu.org/article/african-polygamy-past-and-present

Crawley T. Woman testifies about life in British Colombia Polygamist Community; 2019.

Wynn Freda A. Alternative Realities/The Multiverse: A metaphysical conundrum. Thesis, Georgia State University; 2006.

Yerima A. Refracted Universe, Alternative Realities: The Artist asgod. Mowe: Redeemer’s University Press; 2013.

Bamidele LO. Literature and Sociology. Ibadan: Stirling Horden Publishers; 2000.

Julius-Adeoye OO. Ajarat. Lagos: ICS Publisher; 2010.

Yerima A. The wives. Ibadan: Kraft Books Limited; 2007.

Yerima A. The sisters. Ibadan: Kraft Books Limited; 2001.

Lawson DW, James S, Ngadaya E, Ngowi B, Mfinanga SGM, Mulder MB. No Evidence that polygynous marriage is a harmful cultural practice in Northern Tanzania. PNAS. 2015;112(45):13827–13832.