From Grace to Grass: The Metamorphic Complexity of the Bakor Folktale Hero-Protagonist

Francis M. Ganyi


The concept of the heroic personality has undergone drastic changes over the ages. From the ancient mythological concept of the hero as a divine creature or the god-head to the modern times, the hero and heroism have been defined according to the transformations the hero has undergone through geographical, ethnic, cultural or chronological boundaries. Yesterday’s hero is most likely not today’s hero since environmental circumstances dictate the changing face of the hero and what constitutes heroism.

These considerations have spurred this writer into an examination of the heroic personality and the concept of heroism in Bakor society with the view to understanding what the people conceive of the hero and heroism. The method was to examine few folktales which constitute the operational dynamics of the hero-protagonist in Bakor society. The conclusion is that the hero-protagonist in Bakor is a rather complex embodiment of virtue and vice depending on the society’s philosophical outlook which moulds the personality and actions of the hero-protagonist. Moreover, the hero-protagonist’s actions also largely depend on the perception of the artist of the ethical values of moral stand point of the community within which the hero-protagonist is created. Manipulation by the artist during performance is therefore a common phenomenon in the attempt to reflect different facets of cultural life while at the same time, enhancing the metamorphic complexity of the hero-protagonist.

Keywords: metamorphic complexity, hero-protagonist

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