The moment at which elesin should have joined the

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him. The moment at which Elesin should have joined the alafin on his journey to heaven passed with the arrest, and it is too late to restore the cosmic order. Elesin claims to have regained his sense of purpose after experiencing the contempt of his son, but Elesin is no longer able to carry out his own death. When Pilkings is called away, Elesin shifts blame to the Bride for tempting him away from his destiny. In truth, the white man only provided an excuse for him to succumb to his desire to remain in the world, enjoying its pleasures. The Pilkingses return to the cell to announce a visitor, Iyaloja, who castigates Elesin for his loss of will and the betrayal of his people. She also announces that a volunteer is found to carry Elesin’s last message: that he will not come to the waiting alafin. When the body of this messenger is carried into the prison area, Pilkings and Elesin are both horrified to recognize Olunde, who takes his father’s place. In a final affront to Elesin’s lost honor, Pilkings refuses to allow Elesin to whisper the ritual message in his son’s ear, thus — from the Yoruba perspective — completing the destruction of the cosmic order. Left with nothing to salvage, Elesin strangles himself with his own chains before the colonial authorities can react. His death, however, comes too late to fulfill his hereditary function. What hopes remain lie with the unborn child the Bride carries, the only fruit of the night’s events.
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