A Comparative Study on the Trials of Dedan Kimathi by Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Micere Mugo and A man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

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This study analyzed the setting, character portrayal and style in two plays. The first one by two African writers Ngugi wa Thiongo and Micere Mugo, The Trials of Dedan Kimathi and the second by a Western writer, Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. The research was library-based, enhanced by the textual data and electronic sources to establish materials related to the two selected plays, and it was conducted using qualitative analysis to examine the data from the two selected plays. The study employed two theories; Formalism theory, that is concerned with literature as a tool for social transformation, not only for entertainment, but also for teaching, criticizing, correcting and transforming society for the better and Sociological theory that advocates for purposive choice of words and use of figurative language for the analysis and interpretation of data. The two plays are concerned with the battle of conscience of the characters, and are about true historical events that happened in two different countries with a period difference of over 400 years. The plots of the two texts are rooted in the historical events leading to the deaths of the two heroes. These are: Sir Thomas More, the 16th Century Lord Chancellor of England and Dedan Kimathi, the leader of the Mau Mau Liberation Movement that occurred in the mid-20th century in Kenya. The two heroes are versatile, resilient and responsive to change throughout the course of the two selected plays, despite all the trials and temptations that are set before them. They remain true to their consciences and beliefs. Therefore, the study found out that the two plays have a similar thread, they are both tragic and tense, and the characters go through trials and die a tragic death for reasons that are beyond them. Hence, they are symbolic characters because they stand for a greater cause. The setting of the two countries is mainly characterized by rebellion, frustration with the status quo, indignation toward authority, lack of approval of a law, and refusal to comply with the oppressor. Hence tense and rebellious relations.