The Lion and the Jewel

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27 pages • 54 minutes read

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Sidi is the “jewel” referred to in the play’s title. She is young and beautiful, and is known as “the village belle.” Sidi represents an aspect of tradition in the play. She first appears carrying a pail of water on her head, a traditional women’s task. She also dresses traditionally. These attributes, though normal to Sidi, are signs of a primitive past to Lakunle. Sidi has turned down Lakunle’s marriage offer, and refuses to marry him because he in turn refuses to pay her bride-price. The bride-price is another custom that Sidi upholds, linking her to the traditions of their village, Ilujinle. Sidi is also viewed as vain. Her picture is taken by a foreigner and published in a magazine, placing her far above even the village chieftain, Bale Baroka. Her vanity is ultimately her undoing. She is tricked by the Bale into sleeping with him. In the end, and though she had earlier promised to never marry him, she leaves at the end of the play to marry the Bale, thus highlighting a perhaps necessary balance between the rashness of youth and the knowledge of age.

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The Lion and the Jewel

By wole soyinka, the lion and the jewel literary elements, setting and context.

Nigerian village of Ilujinle, 1950s

Narrator and Point of View

3rd person (Play)

Tone and Mood

Sarcastic; playful; lively; witty

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Sidi. Antagonists: Baroka and Lakunle.

Major Conflict

Will Sidi be able to carry out her plan to tease the Bale, and will she marry the schoolteacher Lakunle?

When Sidi runs out sobbing and announces to Lakunle and Sadiku that Baroka fooled them all, and that she is no longer a maid.

Foreshadowing

-When Baroka muses to himself at the end of the first act that it has been five months since he took a wife, it foreshadows his plot to have Sidi as a wife. -When Sadiku sees the wrestler leaving the Bale's place, "some significance of this breaks on Sadiku and she begins to look a little puzzled" (55). This foreshadows the Bale's virility.

Understatement

- "A woman spoke to me this afternoon" (Sidi, 43).

-Lakunle quotes Genesis when he talks of the man and the woman being one flesh (8). -The Yoruba gods are alluded to throughout the play. -Lakunle references biblical women such as Ruth, Esther, and Bathsheba when talking about Sidi (20).

See separate section on Imagery.

Parallelism

Personification.

"The harder part...to break the jungle's back" (24).

Use of Dramatic Devices

-There are a few soliloquies: Lakunle talking about progress, and Baroka also talking about his views on progress. -Denouement is observable in Sidi's decision to marry Baroka and Lakunle's shifting his attention to another girl. -Soyinka uses a flashback to depict the white surveyor accepting Baroka's bribe to desist putting the railway through Ilujinle. -Soyinka satirizes pompous, self-interested, and prideful individuals.

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The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Lion and the Jewel is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

ATTEMPT A JUSTIFICATION OF SOYNKAS PLAY THE LION AND THE JEWEL

The narrative is a funny and magical piece of work: full of folk fantasy, folk wisdom. But it's also got its share of folk cruelty. And more than that--its share of hard political reality as well. Written in 1962--when Soyinka was a young man...

Explain What Lakunla Meant by half education is hamful

Lakunle is a smart but arrogant twenty-three-year-old schoolteacher who lambasts Ilujinle for its backwards views. He thinks semi educated people lack substance and create half-baked ideas.

It does not seem that Soyinka consciously tries to make a statement about gender in regard to power, but he does so nonetheless. On the one hand, he creates two female characters that are sassy, opinionated, manipulative, and independent. On the...

Study Guide for The Lion and the Jewel

The Lion and the Jewel study guide contains a biography of Wole Soyinka, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Lion and the Jewel
  • The Lion and the Jewel Summary
  • Character List

Essays for The Lion and the Jewel

The Lion and the Jewel essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka.

  • The Balance of Power in A View from the Bridge and The Lion and the Jewel
  • The Power of Image in "The Lion and the Jewel"

Lesson Plan for The Lion and the Jewel

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to The Lion and the Jewel
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • The Lion and the Jewel Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for The Lion and the Jewel

  • Introduction
  • Critical reception

the lion and the jewel essay

the lion and the jewel essay

The Lion and the Jewel

Wole soyinka, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon

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  1. The Lion and the Jewel Essay Questions

    The Lion and the Jewel essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka. The Balance of Power in A View from the Bridge and The Lion and the Jewel

  2. The Lion and the Jewel Critical Essays

    The Lion and the Jewel, although an early play by Wole Soyinka, is perhaps his most widely known and performed drama. It was first produced along with The Swamp Dwellers (pr. 1958, pb. 1963); both ...

  3. The Lion and the Jewel Study Guide

    Key Facts about The Lion and the Jewel. Full Title: The Lion and the Jewel. When Written: 1959. Where Written: Leeds, England. When Published: While the play was first performed in 1959, the script wasn't published until 1962. Literary Period: Postcolonial African Diaspora. Genre: Drama, Comedy.

  4. The Lion and the Jewel Summary

    The Lion and the Jewel is a play by Wole Soyinka that dramatizes the courtship of a beautiful woman named Sidi by two very different suitors. Sidi has two suitors: Lakunle, a hapless schoolteacher ...

  5. The Lion and the Jewel Summary

    The Lion and the Jewel Summary. The play is set in the village of Ilunjinle, Nigeria. Sidi, a beautiful young woman also known as "The Jewel," carries her pail of water past the school where Lakunle, the schoolteacher and a village outsider with modern ideas, works. He approaches her and chastises her for carrying her water on her head and ...

  6. The Lion and the Jewel Analysis

    The Lion and the Jewel Analysis. The play dramatizes the conflict between modernization and tradition through the characters of Baroka and Lakunle. Whereas Lakunle embraces all things progressive ...

  7. The Lion and the Jewel Study Guide

    The Lion and the Jewel is one of Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka 's most famous works. While it is a light and amusing comedy, it is also renowned for its complex themes and allegorical structure; it is also notable for its insights into Yoruba culture and traditions. Soyinka wrote the play while living in London.

  8. "The Lion and the Jewel": Summary and Analysis of the Play

    It's a story of a lion, Baroka, the chief of Ilujinle village, on a mission to claim a jewel, Sidi, the belle of the village, as his latest wife. Despite Sidi's refusal to be married to Baroka, the Bale succeeds in having the beautiful young girl as his wife. The employment of symbolism in the construction of the title of the play sketches a ...

  9. The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka Plot Summary

    The Lion and the Jewel Summary. The play begins as Sidi, the village belle of Ilujinle, enters the square with a pail of water balanced on her head. Lakunle, the western-educated schoolteacher, sees her, runs from his classroom, and takes Sidi's pail. He berates her for carrying loads on her head and not dressing modestly, and she retaliates by ...

  10. The Lion and the Jewel Summary and Study Guide

    Essay Topics. Summary and Study Guide. Overview "The Lion and the Jewel" is a three-act play written by Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka. The play fuses modern and traditional elements of storytelling, including Yoruban song and dance, to convey a message both comical and serious. The play's characters are often touted as over-the-top in ...

  11. The Lion and the Jewel Themes

    The Lion and the Jewel was written and first performed the year before Nigeria was granted its independence from Great Britain, and the script was published two years after independence. As such, one of the primary conflicts of the play pits traditional Yoruba customs against a western conception of progress and modernity, as represented by the conflict between Baroka and Lakunle for Sidi 's ...

  12. The Lion and the Jewel Essay Topics

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

  13. The Lion and the Jewel

    The Lion and the Jewel, a play by Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka that was first performed in 1959 in Ibadan. In 1966, it was staged in London at the Royal Court Theatre. The play chronicles how Baroka, the lion, fights with the modern Lakunle over the right to marry Sidi, the titular Jewel. Lakunle is portrayed as the civilized antithesis of Baroka and unilaterally attempts to modernize his ...

  14. The Lion and the Jewel Essays

    The Lion and the Jewel. In "The Lion and the Jewel", the action is ignited by the arrival of a stranger and a magazine in which Sidi's images are published. Sidi as 'the Village Belle' gets greater media coverage than the almighty 'Bale' of Ilujinle, and her images as... The Lion and the Jewel essays are academic essays for citation.

  15. The Lion and the Jewel Act I Summary & Analysis

    Act I Summary. Sidi enters, carrying a pail of water on her head. She is described as young and beautiful, the "village belle.". Two boys see her from a school window and begin making noises at her. The schoolmaster, Lakunle, comes to the window and smacks the troublemaking boys on the head. He is twenty-three years old and dresses like a ...

  16. The Lion and the Jewel Themes

    The main themes in The Lion and the Jewel are vanity, gender roles, and tradition versus progress. Vanity: Vanity is Sidi's downfall, as her belief in her own beauty and superiority causes her ...

  17. Tradition vs. Modernity Theme in The Lion and the Jewel

    The Lion and the Jewel was written and first performed the year before Nigeria was granted its independence from Great Britain, and the script was published two years after independence. As such, one of the primary conflicts of the play pits traditional Yoruba customs against a western conception of progress and modernity, as represented by the conflict between Baroka and Lakunle for Sidi 's ...

  18. The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers

    The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers - Discover the eNotes.com community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on The Lion and the Jewel

  19. The Lion and the Jewel Essay

    The Power of Image in "The Lion and the Jewel" Seda Dalgec College. The Power of Image in "The Lion and the Jewel". In "The Lion and the Jewel", the action is ignited by the arrival of a stranger and a magazine in which Sidi's images are published. Sidi as 'the Village Belle' gets greater media coverage than the almighty 'Bale' of ...

  20. The Lion and the Jewel Character Analysis

    Character Analysis. Sidi is the "jewel" referred to in the play's title. She is young and beautiful, and is known as "the village belle.". Sidi represents an aspect of tradition in the play. She first appears carrying a pail of water on her head, a traditional women's task. She also dresses traditionally.

  21. The Lion and the Jewel Character Analysis

    Baroka. Baroka is the Bale (village chief) of Ilujinle. He's known as both the "Lion" because of his strength, and the "Fox" because of his cunning tricks. At 62 he's an older man, but he still… read analysis of Baroka.

  22. The Lion and the Jewel Literary Elements

    ATTEMPT A JUSTIFICATION OF SOYNKAS PLAY THE LION AND THE JEWEL. The narrative is a funny and magical piece of work: full of folk fantasy, folk wisdom. But it's also got its share of folk cruelty. And more than that--its share of hard political reality as well. Written in 1962--when Soyinka was a young man...

  23. The Lion and the Jewel Morning Summary & Analysis

    The Lion and the Jewel: Morning Summary & Analysis. Sidi, dressed in traditional broadcloth and balancing a pail of water on her head, walks through a clearing near Ilujinle's schoolhouse. Students in the school recite the multiplication table as the young schoolteacher, Lakunle, notices Sidi and comes outside.