The Ethnopoetic Study of Igbo Oral Funeral Poetry: A Case Study of Edda Dirge.


This study is an analysis of Igbo oral funeral poetry with particular reference to Edda. The principal objective of the study is to analyze oral funeral poetry performance of the Edda people with emphasis on the form and structure of Edda dirges, belief of causes and effects of death, themes and significance of oral funeral poetry, funeral rituals and rites in Edda and the impact of Christianity and Western lifestyle on the performance of Edda dirges. An aspect of ethno poetic theory known as infracultural model in folklore analysis developed by Alembi is used in the analysis of data. The funeral artists make use of linguistic and paralinguistic features at their disposal to realize the aims of their performance and various imageries are used in the dirges to showcase emotion such as loss, events such as death and hunting, animate objects such as lion, kite and lizard, inanimate objects such as forest and mountain. The findings of the study revealed that the dirges poetically reiterate the theme of futility of life, social commentary, and reflection on life, spirituality and reference to the deceased. Dirges function as a repository of historical knowledge, a tool for social criticism, didacticism and as a medium of mourning and celebrating the life of the deceased. Ndiishina (spirits of the ancestors), witchcraft, charm, poisoning and suicide were identified as the major causes of death in Edda. This paper is set out to investigate the impact of Christianity and Western education on the performances of dirges.

Author Information
Mercy Agha Onu, Ebonyi State University, Nigeria

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2015
Stream: Literature - Poetry

This paper is part of the LibEuro2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon