The Epic of Abiku-A Review


The Epic of Abiku-A Review

The Epic of Abiku-A Review

The Epic of Abiku-A Review

‘The Epic of Abiku’ stands as a captivating and thought-provoking narrative within Yoruba mythology and literature, shedding light on the profound complexities of life, death, and the ethereal realm. While not conforming to the conventional mold of an epic, it offers a unique lens into the world of spirits and human existence, intertwining cultural beliefs, emotions, and the inevitability of destiny

Narrative Depth and Themes:

At its core, ‘The Epic of Abiku’ revolves around the character of Abiku, a spirit child who faces an agonizing cycle of death and rebirth. The narrative taps into the deeply ingrained Yoruba belief in the supernatural and the existence of spirit beings that bridge the gap between the earthly and divine realms. The theme of destiny and its inescapability is interwoven throughout, driving the story forward as Abiku grapples with their preordained fate.

Cultural Significance:

This tale holds immense cultural significance within the Yoruba community, reflecting their worldview, religious beliefs, and philosophical ponderings. It encapsulates the Yoruba people’s holistic understanding of life, where the spiritual world is as tangible and influential as the physical one. Abiku, with its repeated deaths and resurrections, exemplifies the delicate balance between the two realms, demonstrating the Yoruba belief in the ongoing interaction between spirits and humans.

Literary Techniques:

Though not a conventional epic, the narrative employs various literary techniques to captivate its audience. Symbolism is prevalent, with the recurring motif of death and rebirth underscoring the cyclical nature of existence. The use of metaphors and allegory adds depth to the storytelling, allowing readers to contemplate larger themes of mortality, immortality, and the transient nature of human life.

Character Depth:

Abiku, despite being a spirit child, embodies relatable human emotions and struggles. This emotional depth invites readers to empathize with Abiku’s plight as they navigate the intersection of two worlds. The character’s resilience and defiance against a predetermined fate further enhance the story’s emotional resonance.

The Universal in the Specific:

While deeply rooted in Yoruba culture, ‘The Epic of Abiku’ transcends its cultural origins by touching on universal themes. The existential questioning of one’s purpose, the fear of death, and the search for meaning are themes that resonate across cultures and time periods, making the narrative accessible to a global audience.

Impact on Yoruba Literature:

This narrative has left an indelible mark on Yoruba literature, inspiring subsequent generations of writers to delve into their cultural heritage and explore the boundary between the real and the supernatural. ‘The Epic of Abiku’ has opened doors for further exploration of Yoruba mythology and its relevance in contemporary storytelling.


‘The Epic of Abiku’ is a testament to the richness of Yoruba mythology and literature. Its intricate narrative, deep cultural roots, and exploration of profound themes make it a literary gem that defies categorization. Through Abiku’s trials and tribulations, readers are invited to ponder the mysteries of existence, the fragility of life, and the interconnectedness of the human and spirit realms. This narrative stands not only as a significant piece within Yoruba culture but also as a work with the power to provoke contemplation and inspire creativity in readers from diverse backgrounds. 0 0 0.

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N.B. The article originally belongs to the book entitled ‘Reviews of Epic Literature Around the World‘ by Menonim Menonimus.


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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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