NEGOTIATING THE MALE EGO A MASCULINIST INTERPRETATION OF JOHN RUGANDAS PLAY, BLACK MAMBA

Abstract

Author(s): Chimdi MADUAGWU

The study of maleness, both at the physical, physiological, socio-economic and psychological levels is becoming an area of strong attraction even in African Studies. The bench mark in such a study appears to be suggested in the basic nature of man, as “the other sex,” when compared with the woman. This difference, or otherness, is in consideration of the total form, or constitution of man - the man as seen and accepted by himself; the man as seen and accepted by the larger society; the man who has been able to internalize societal values and norm, and having allowed such to blend with his innate or inherent traits, emerges with an acceptable personality, both tolerable by his raw instincts and reflexes, as well as the tamed societal standards. In John Ruganda’s play, Black Mamba, there is a creative portrayal of man in very special ways. First, there is the man who struggles with both his personal ideas and societal values as he attempts to form a stable selfhood. Next, there is another, who believes himself, after a supposed self assessment, that he has a definite ego that must not only remain, but must be carefully protected and sustained. Then there is also the stock character, which represents the man that is in the process of a realistic self appraisal of not only himself, but also the other two categories, in relation to the lager society; with a view to drawing conclusions as to the true nature of the masculine being. This paper examines the various shades of characters, present in that play, as depictions of possible real life characters of diverse psychological propensities. It will adopt psychoanalysis, especially the ego states and ego identity hypothesis, as it tries to unravel the male ego.

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