The Trick by Erisa Kironde


Erisa Kironde is a prolific writer in Uganda’s literary scene. She is an administrator, poet, playwright, columnist, critic, editor, and teacher. J. M. Synge’s plays, an Irish writer, have had a big influence on him. His play “The Trick” is based on Synge’s play The Shadow of the Glen. Erisa expertly transposes the scenario into African life here.

Kamuli is a lovely young lady. She marries Kalekezi, an elderly, wealthy, and inebriated man. Kalekezi is cruel to his wife. He hits her and suspects her of wrongdoing. Despite the fact that Kamuli is a young lady, she marries him for his money rather than for love. Kamuli counts Kalekezi’s money as the action begins. Kalekezi, her husband, pretends to be dead in order to judge his wife. In the meantime, a musician arrives at Kalekezi’s house and requests water. But she gives him waragi. Majangwa is his name. He is from Nalubabwe.

Kamuli does not have any children. She is abandoned in her hut. She is awaiting her husband’s death. She believes that his death will provide her with enough money to live her life. Kalekezi becomes enraged when he discovers his wife’s intentions. He decides to pull a prank on her in order to reveal her identity. Kalekezi and Kamuli have a disagreement. Kalekezi abuses his wife during their argument.

Kalekezi pretends to die the next morning. Majangwa, the musician, discovers Kalekezi’s body. Kamuli now asks him to stay at her house until she collects her sister-in-law Sirista. The musician is taken aback by her demeanour. He learns of Kalekezi’s curse, which states that everyone who touches Kalekezi’s body will lose sleep, with the exception of Sirista, Kalekezi’s sister. Now Kamuli goes in search of Kazungu, a herdsman, to summon Sirista and ask the musician to accompany the dead.


Majangwa agrees to remain there.

When the musician is alone, Kalekezi gets up. The musician is startled by the sight of the dead man moving. He discovers that he has been feigning death in order to expose his wife. He complains to the musician about his wife. She is always concerned about money. He requests that the musician not inform Kamuli that he is alive. Kamuli later returns with Kazungu, a young man. She describes her difficult existence with Kalekezi. Kamuli informs them that she married him for the good property and money he possessed. There is no one who can assist her. Kazungu now intends to marry her in order to gain Kalekezi’s money. He suggests Kamuli. Then Kamuli notices another cup with waragi remnants and accuses the musician. Now that Kalekezi has awoken, he accuses his wife of immoral behaviour and forces her to leave his home. The herdsman is unwilling to adopt Kamuli because he lacks funds.

Kamuli is invited to join the musician. He informs her that he does not have a house or food to offer her. He assures her that he will teach her how to live. He promises to show her how to dismiss loneliness. She enjoys the musician’s conversational style. She agrees to accompany the musician.

The play concludes with an intriguing surprise. Surprisingly, Kamuli leaves the house with a musician she knows nothing about. She is overjoyed when he offers her a genuine life of freedom.

Analysis of The Trick

The play is about a couple, an old man and his young wife. The elderly man suspects his young wife is disloyal to him and decides to play a trick on her. He pretends to be dead and awaits his wife’s reaction. She approaches a shepherd she knows, who offers to marry her because she has inherited money following her husband’s death. The husband overhears them conversing and sends his wife away, telling her that she will have to spend her life on the streets because no one will want to marry her now that she has no money. This entire scenario is witnessed by a musician. He offers to bring his wife with him. Despite the fact that he is destitute and homeless, he promises her an interesting life. She accepts the offer because she prefers a life that is exciting and challenging to one that is comfortable but monotonous and pointless.

READ ALSO:  Character Sketch of The Tiger King

The play delves at the factors that contribute to a happy marriage, such as companionship, trust, and children. The couple in the play lacks all three. The wife is lonely and seeks company from everybody who goes by the house. The husband is untrusting of his wife and refuses to share any of his wealth with her. They do not have children, indicating a lack of emotional bonding between them. At the end of the play, the husband feels he is sending his wife away, but the wife really walks out on the marriage because she believes the musician can provide a better life for her.

The play also examines the repercussions of colonisation and other forms of repressive authority, as well as the need to shine a light on the path to freedom. The dramatist investigates colonialism via the viewpoint of a patriarchal man-woman interaction. It honours the woman, and so the colonial nation, in her quest for independence and emancipation from an oppressive regime.

Kalekezi is a middle-aged man who has lost his young vigour. He spends his days in a drunken haze lamenting the passing of his youth and the good old days. He has shrunk with age and is no longer capable of receiving warmth. He no longer cares about his young wife. He relies on her to look after him and, in turn, beats her up in his drunken rages. He also suspects his wife of cheating on him. He puts a ruse on her in order to catch her cheating on him. To see what she will do, he pretends to be dead. The ploy he pulls works so well that he catches her with another herdsman proposing marriage to her. He believes he has won and throws her out, telling her that she will be unable to attract any male because she is impoverished and homeless. What he does not realise is that his wife has decided to leave the marriage and seek the company of Majangwa, the musician.

READ ALSO:  Great Things by Thomas Hardy : Summary and Questions

Kalekezi might be viewed as a colonial king whose presence in the country he colonised has outlived him. He has taken advantage of it and now mistrust the colonial people’s allegiance. He imposes strict regulations in the goal of quelling the internal strife. When he apprehends Indians he suspects of scheming against them, he threatens them with economic punishment. He deludes himself into believing that he still has the upper hand, despite the fact that the native country has made the decision to break free from the clutches of the coloniser and pursue freedom for itself.

Questions and Answers

Note: This section will be added very soon. Please remind in case we forget..

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter