African PoetryArt and Literature

The Theme of Executioner’s Dream by Kwesi Brew

Theme of Executioner’s Dream will analysed as it refflect in the work of Kwesi Brew. Thus, the foregrounding notes such as the features, form and structure on the poem will be discussed first before moving on to the Theme of Executioner’s Dream.

Features of Executioner’s Dream

The poem has 29-lines. These lines are laid out as a dramatic monologue. This is because two forms of dream are projected in the poem. You have the dream of the executioner, as well as the poet’s dream. Yet, the poet is the same person projecting the two dreams.

Form and Structure of Executioner’s Dream

The poem is a critical commentary. The commentary is symbolically run as two dreams. First, you have the executioner’s dream. Second, you have the poet’s dream. Primarily, the executioner’s dream is a for horrors of human sacrifice in yesterday Africa. It is also a symbolism for men of power that usually mis-use such power to put the common masses into unnecessary suffering. The poet’s dream symbolises how power should be used to avoid putting the common man into any suffering.

Because the executioner used to be the arrow-head of human-sacrifice, the poet projects the executioner as a cruel, merciless, blood-thirsty, blood-letting, heartless and irrational character. As such, any man of power who uses such power as above-described for “the executioner” is a misfit.

To clearly project these dreams, the poet uses imageries of horror, indifference, cruelity, suffering, anxiety and irrationality. For instance, to see a human eye plucked out of its socket and dripping of blood will make a normal human being to be afraid and sick. Again, a normal human who sees a fellow human being’s tongue pegged with a sharp stick (i.e. sappor) to his lower jaw, will be full of pity. A normal human being cannot be joyful to be shedding fellow human blood.

However, the executioner takes all the horrible issues noted above as normal ways of life.

Message of the Executioner’s Dream

“The poet condemns human sacrifice and every reason behind it. Particularly, he is very critical of the executioner who takes charge of human sacrifice. He regards him as a cruel and merciless character.

The executioner is merciless because he always first puts his victims into painful suffering before beheadihg them. To the poet, the executioner is heartless, because he carries about pitiless eyes.

However, he finds the executioner as an irrational character, because he always regrets his murderous actions, whenever it is too late to make amends.”Poetic devices in the poem

Analysis of the Theme of Executioner’s Dream

The following are the themes spelt out in Kwesi Brew’s “The Executioner’s Dream”:

1. The Theme of Human sacrifice is bad

One can illustrate this theme with the way the poet condemns human sacrifice as horror. Again, the theme is illustrated by the poet’s surprise that the owner of the pretty eye thrown at his lap must have been beheaded by the executioner; as shown below:

What horrors or human sacrifice Have you seen the executioner?


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2. The Theme of Delebrate suffering of the powerless is bad

One can illustrate this theme with the way the poet condemns the preliminary painful treatments usually meted out by the executioner to his victims, as shown in the following line:

“What agonies of tortured men”

3. The Theme of Power should be used with the fear of God

One can illustrate this theme with the way the poet noted that other creatures like insects and flowers do not feel comfortable anytime the executioner carries out a killing exercise, as shown in the following line:

” These white lilies toss their little heads then.”

4. The Theme of sacredness of human life should be protected

One can illustrated ttlis theme with the way the poet indirectly condemns the executioner as a blood-fetiing saddist as shown in the following lines:

5. The Theme of Life should be lived rationally

Horrors were your flower then The blood-bright bougainvilleas They delighted you …

One can illustrate this theme with the way the poet depicts the executioner as an irrational creature, who is given to regretting his wicked actions, when remedy can no longer take place. The following rhetorical question gives buttress:

“Why do you now weep And offer me this little gift of a dull onyx set in a crown of thorns?”

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Davidposh of Campusvibes

I'm a dedicated and progressive individual with an exceptional work ethic and client oriented service aptitude. I write to inform and educate. Currently I'm an English language students Lagos State University.

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