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The gods are not to blame BY OLA ROTIMI (Summary)

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A book summary by MC Bello Candice of the famous THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME, a play written by Ola Rotimi and first published in 1971 is the tragic story of a prince who grew up to kill his father and marry his mother.

It is a play of three acts and ten (10) scenes (act 1: 2 scenes, act 2: 4 scenes, act 3: 4 scenes).The book began with the prologue. In the land of Kutuje, a son was born to King Adetusa and his wife, Queen Ojuola, the king and queen of the land of Kutuje.

The son was their first baby. As is the custom there, the son was taken to a priest of Ifa to tell what the boy’s future would be. The priest of Ifa,, Baba Fakunle cast his opele and said the child would kill his father and marry his own mother. No one was happy about this prophecy.

The only way to stop the bad future from happening was to kill the child. So the priest of Ogun, a member of the king’s entourage, tied the baby’s feet with a string of cowries meaning sacrifice to the gods who sent the boy to earth, and assigned the king’s special messenger, Gbonka, to go to the evil grove in the bush with the child.

Two years later, Obatala, God of creation consoled the royal family by giving King Adetusa and Queen Ojuola another son, Aderopo.Thirty years later, King Adetusa was murdered and the people of Ikolu took advantage of this and attacked Kutuje. The people of Kutuje were left hopeless until Odewale, a wanderer from the tribe of Ijekun Yemoja came.


He saw the people’s sadness and motivated them to attack the people of Ikolu. They were successful and the people of Kutuje made Odewale their king even though he was not from Kutuje. According to their custom, Odewale married the Queen Ojuola and had four children with her.

After some years of peace, a mysterious sickness descended upon the land, killing many. Aderopo, the son of the late king was sent to Orunmila in Ile Ife. The Oracle of Ifa at the shrine of Orunmila found that the cause of sickness and death was because the murderer of the late king was living peacefully in the land of Kutuje. But Aderopo did not know who the person was. Odewale asked and was told that the late king was murdered by robbers. Odewale then vowed to find the murderer and pluck out the person’s eyes then send the person away to wander about.Aderopo brought Baba Fakunle an old man to the palace.

Baba Fakunle, at first refused to talk for he knew who the murderer was. But he indirectly accused king Odewale of being a bed sharer. He said it is Odewale’s anger that brought this upon him. Odewale got very angry and distressed and to calm him down, the chiefs told him Baba Fakunle was mad. But Odewale got suspicious and accused Aderopo of plotting the whole thing with Baba Fakunle so that he, Aderopo could become king. Not even Queen Ojuola could get the king to calm down.Soon after, Odewale’s old friend from Ijekun found his way to the palace and when Odewale identified him, was warmly received. His name was Alaka, and he was the son of Odediran.

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While discussing and ‘catching up on old times’, Odewale told Alaka why he had run away from his farm many many years ago. He killed a man who was stealing from his farm and yet had the guts to insult Odewale’s people, calling them a ‘bush tribe’. Odewale could no longer stay on his farm because he had spilled blood on it.

Later, discussing with the queen, she told Odewale that when her husband died, Baba Fakunle said the he was killed by his own blood. She also told him Baba Fakunle had said her first son would kill his father and marry his mother. She mentioned Gbonka as the person who witnessed King Adetusa’s death and Odewale immediately sent men to bring Gbonka from Ipetu.

Considering it good news, Alaka told Odewale of his father’s death. At this, Odewale told them why he was not sad and grieving over his father’s death. Long ago, his father’s brother implied that he was not his father’s son. He was disturbed and went to consult an Ifa priest who told him he was cursed, that he would kill his father and marry his mother. So he ran away to avoid this. But Alaka then told him that the people he thought were his parents were not his real parents. Alaka told everyone how Odewale had been adopted by the people he thought were his parents. The man he thought was his father had gone hunting with Alaka – he was Alaka’s master.

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They saw a man in the bush of Ipetu with a baby wrapped in white cloth like a sacrifice to the gods. The baby’s arms and feet were tied with strings of cowries. They had pity on the baby and took him.Shortly after, Gbonka was brought into the palace. Alaka recognized him but he did not recognize Alaka. As Alaka reminded him of their encounter in the past, the truth came out that Odewale is indeed the son of the late king Adetusa. And that the man Odewale murdered on his farm long ago was his own father, King Adetusa.

Queen Ojuola and the Ogun priest realized the truth before the rest of them. While the Ogun priest made futile attempts to hide the truth from Odewale, Queen Ojuola went into her bedroom. Going into the room, Odewale saw that Queen Ojuola had stabbed herself to death. He pulled the knife from her stomach and gouged out his own eyes. Only one of the chiefs was with him when he did this. Aderopo came in and Odewale apologized to him for accusing him wrongly. Odewale then got his four children, and told the oldest to lead the way. They were going to wander as far as possible from the land of Kutuje. Odewale placed a curse on whoever tried to stop him.


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