Q & A: Discuss the role of the gods in the life of Odewale in Ola Rotimi’s “The Gods are not to Blame”


Discuss the role of the gods in the life of Odewale in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are not to Blame.

The role of the gods in Ola Rotimi’s classic, The Gods are not to Blame, is very significant especially in the life of Odewale. At birth, the gods set a bad destiny for Odewale, one that implies that he will marry his mother when he kills his father.

His parents give instruction to their messenger to have him killed. However, the gods have a different plan for Odewale. They capitalise on the pity and compassion of Gbonka, the messenger, for the poor boy. Gbonka spares him instead and gives him to a hunter’s apprentice who in turn gives him to his master, Hunter Ogundele.


When Odewale appears to have settled in his new-found home, the gods set their machinations into work. His father’s relative taunts him about being a butterfly who thinks himself a bird.

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Odewale out of curiosity decides to find out the meaning of this deriding utterance. He eventually finds out that he is cursed with a bad destiny. Thinking Ogundele and Mobike are his real parents, Odewale flees from home to avoid his ominous destiny.

While Odewale thinks he is fleeing from his destiny, he is actually being drawn into the course set for him by the gods. The more he runs from his destiny, the closer he gets to it.

The gods exploit his curiosity, restlessness, ethnic identity and hot-temperedness as tools to aid the fulfilment of his destiny.

He eventually kills his real father and marries his real mother without him knowing. It takes about eleven years after the fulfilment of his destiny for him to realise this.

It will be totally unfair to Odewale to say he didn’t resist the destiny. But what remains to be done when fleeing from his destiny means fulfilling it or when resisting his destiny is same as embracing it?

The gods obviously put Odewale in a tight position. Fleeing from the course of his destiny, he only runs in a circle he is confined to by the gods, ending where he started.

Although Odewale admits his foibles and claims responsibility for his destiny, there is no doubt that he is not in total control of his actions. The gods exert a greater influence on him.

I believe Odewale is like a flawed robot that is programmed to act in a certain way. Everything he does is in accordance to the script written by the gods.

While freewill is a noticeable concept in The Gods are not to Blame, fate is also very important. In other words, the role of the gods in Odewale’s life is no small one. Everything he does brings him nearer to the ultimate design the gods have made for him.

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