Psyche, Nightmare and Religion: Precursors of Colonial Conquest in Ahmed Yerima’s Attahiru

Taiwo A. Stanley Osanyemi, A. A. Oladipupo, A. O. Michael


This paper is premised on the connection between history and drama in order to profile the historical characters or heroes and explicate the socio-political predicament in their society. Existing studies on historical plays have focused on the celebration and chronicling of the heroic deeds of the historical characters, sometimes ignoring the artistic techniques the playwright employed. This study, therefore, examines psyche, nightmare and religion as the stylistic techniques for establishing the sources of disintegration in an imperial environment. This is with a view to investigating the link between the conflicts of the protagonist and the predicaments of his society. The study is based on psychoanalysis that allows for the investigation of characters’ unconscious motives and collective archetypes. The text, Attahiru is subjected to critical textual analysis in both content and form to analyse the paradigmatic use of history, dream and religion to account for the colonial conquest of an African society. Various patterns of unconscious archetypes such as psyche, nightmare, daydream and religion were discovered to serve as techniques of foreshadowing and flashback to the physical and psychological conflicts in the play. They serve as signifiers of the protagonist’s traumas. These unconscious archetypes, therefore, have become the catalysts for disintegration and veritable strategy in Ahmed Yerima’s account of imperial history.



Psyche, Nightmare, Religion, History, Disintegration, Colonial conquest

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