Language and Style in Betrayal in the City - Satire
Satire is a form of writing where an individual or society is ridiculed or where the foolishness of an idea, practice or custom is shown.
It’s a form of criticism of vices through or by use of humour.
The writer portrays the evils of the society in a rather humorous way.
From the beginning of the play, he depicts the government as insensitive to the needs of its own people. Adika is shot dead by the sub-chief’s brother for leading a demonstration against the employment of many expatriates.
Chagaga is jailed and later released because he shot Adika in ‘self-defence’ other than listen to the protest of the people and consider their demands; the government executes those who oppose its ideas.
Government officials such as Askari and Mulili are satirised for their cruelty. They have little regard for human life.
Askari mistreats prisoners under his watch such as Jere.
He repeatedly threatens Jere and even informs him that he has killed a man in the very cell Jere is in.
Mulili has no qualms taking away human life.
Mulili and Boss have been satirized for being traitorous.
Boss betrays the trust bestowed on him by his subjects.
Instead of being a servant leader, he has become a tyrant.
A peaceful demonstration by university students is violently dispersed leading to the death of a student; Adika.
Instead of securing jobs for the citizens of his country he has resorted to importation of expatriates.
His leadership is also characterized by intimidation, assassination and corruption. Mulili is a beneficiary of Boss’ misrule.
Ironically, when tables are turned on Boss by Jere, Jusper and Mosese, he betrays Boss and blames him for the ills in Kafira as well as for killing Kabito.
He urges Jere to Kill Boss.
Tumbo a government official’sinefficiency is satirized. He uses his position to benefit himself.
He claims that the reason he never got proper education is that his parents were poor and so he sold his scholarship.
He fails in his duty to set up a writing competition, feigns ignorance that it took place and gives the opportunity to Jusper who grabs it to turn against the president and his cronies.
When he visits Regina, Tumbo sends Jusper for beer claiming that it is tough being a government official.
When we do not quite see what
is tough in his line of duty.
Tumbo is happy when Jusper highlights in the play the influx of expatriate is a sign of potential progress.
Mulili is satirised for being insensitive to the rights of children.
He suggests that during the head of state’s visit, all children and adults should line up on the road to welcome the visitor despite the fact that it’s the final term and most of the children will be sitting for exams.
Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga
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