The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka Essay

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The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka

The three main characters in ‘The Lion and the Jewel’ are called Sidi,
Lakunle and Baroka the Bale. Each character has different thoughts about one another and each views the society in a different way. This essay introduces and describes each character and analyses their role in the play.


Sidi is the first character that the audience meets. She is a very attractive woman, known as the village ‘belle’. Her attractiveness influences her personality, by making her quite vain. An example of her vanity is when she receives photos through of her that featured in a global magazine, taken by a western man. The photographs, also affect Sidi’s perception of Baroka, by making her
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Naturally Sidi is entranced by this thought and complies with him. Baroka knows that Sidi likes to be told how beautiful she is, and if he could harness this desire, then seducing her would become much easier. After he manages to seduce her, Sidi feels tricked and disgusted and does not want anything to do with the Bale either.
She does however know that because she has slept with the Bale, she is no longer a virgin and therefore stays with Baroka as his latest addition to his wives. Sidi also decides to stay with the Bale, due to tradition, which she strongly believes in i.e. the Bale has the
‘Belle’ or in this case the ‘Lion’ has the ‘Jewel’.


Lakunle is classified as a ‘stranger’ to the village because of his western ideas. This is also reflected in the dance that occurs just before ‘noon’. Lakunle is a schoolteacher in the village, which is already a sign that his western ideas are slowly trying to creep them into the village, by educating his students in a way that a westerner would. His ideas are quite opposite to those of Sidi. Lakunle is more into change whereas Sidi is more conservative and tends to stick to tradition. To show Lakunle’s western ideas, he mentions ‘breakable plates’, which probably had been mentioned before in the village. Also when Lakunle proposes to Sidi, he is quoting

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