The Lion and the Jewel Summary
The play is about within the village of Ilunjinle, Nigeria. Sidi, a gorgeous girl also referred to as “The Jewel,” carries her pail of water past the varsity 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 stunting her shoulders; she is unfazed. Lakunle loves Sidi and needs to marry her, but he refuses to pay her bride-price because he considers it an archaic tradition. Sidi doesn’t love Lakunle; she finds him and his ideas about making her a contemporary, Western bride obnoxious. However, she plans to marry him if he pays the worth because the village traditions necessitate.
While Sidi and Lakunle are talking, several young women run up to Sidi and tell her that the stranger—a photographer who visited the village a while ago—is back, which he brought with him the magazine that contained within it pictures of the village and villagers. Sidi occupies a central space and is stunningly beautiful. Lakunle is dismayed to listen to this, but Sidi glows proudly.
Sidi suggests the villagers act out and dance to the story of the stranger. She pushes Lakunle to participate and act because of the stranger, and therefore the performance commences. The drummers and singers and actors play out the arrival of the stranger and his camera. Lakunle gets into the spirit of the performance. because it goes on, the Bale (i.e. head) of the village, Baroka—a.k.a. “the Lion”—arrives. He plays the role of the chief. Later that day he stares at the photographs of Sidi and muses that he has not taken a wife a few times.
Sadiku, Baroka’s senior wife and head of the harem, finds Sidi and tells her that Baroka wants to require her for a wife. She paints this as a fantastic honor, but Sidi laughs that Baroka is old. She glories in her photographs and says Baroka only wants her because she is so famous and has brought such a lot of honor to the village. Lakunle, who is jealously listening, excoriates Baroka as being against progress and modernity.
Sadiku returns to Baroka and provides him Sidi’s reply. he’s calm initially but becomes distressed when she tells him Sidi said he’s old. He bemoans the very fact that he’s not virile, and tries to require comfort within the elderly Sadiku’s gentle touch.
Sidi is standing and admiring her photos near the schoolhouse when Sadiku, cackling to herself and carrying a bundle, arrives. Inside the bundle maybe a carved figure of the Bale. Sadiku looks at it and bursts into laughter, exulting in how she and therefore the women have undone him. Sidi is confused, and Sadiku whispers to her about the Bale’s impotence.
Lakunle sees them talking and tries to find out what they’re saying, but both women tell him to go away them alone. Sidi announces she features a plan and tells Sadiku that it might be wondering if she could attend dinner with the Bale and see him thwarted. Sadiku gleefully agrees, and Sidi bounds off. After she leaves, Sadiku and Lakunle argue, with Lakunle telling Sadiku that his plans of modernity are what’s best for the village.
The scene shifts to the Bale’s bedroom, where he’s engaged in wrestling with a person hired for the aim of creating him stronger. Sidi enters confidently, but the Bale’s dismissive attitude confuses her. She pretends to ask his counsel on a person who wanted to marry her, describing the Bale instead.
As the Bale continues to wrestle, he criticizes Sidi for taking note of Sadiku and being one among the vexing young women of the village. He asks her if Sadiku invented any stories, and she or he says no. He pretends to complain about Sadiku’s constant matchmaking. He does admire Sidi, though, for seeming much deeper and more mature than how he once saw her.
Baroka confides in her plan for a stamp machine which will have images of Ilunjinle thereon, also as of Sidi herself. He ruminates more to himself that he doesn’t hate progress but only bland similarity. He admits he and therefore the schoolteacher isn’t so different, which they need to work together.
The drums begin, and feminine dancers pursue a male. Sadiku and Lakunle await Sidi to return. Lakunle is extremely nervous and claims he will go rescue Sidi.
The mummers play within the distance, and Sadiku joyfully assumes the Bale has been brought down. She also tells Lakunle he must pay the mummers for performance or it might be rude. She grabs money from his pocket and pays them; they dance out the story of Baroka and his downfall. Sadiku herself is invited to assist “kill” the Bale.
Suddenly Sidi runs in, sobbing. She throws herself to the bottom. Lakunle is horrified and asks if she was beaten. Sidi sobs that Sadiku was fooled: the Lion tricked her and wasn’t impotent in the least, so he raped Sidi and took her virginity.
Lakunle announces he will still marry Sidi. She is perplexed and asks if this is often true. He asserts. However, soon when marriage preparations start, Lakunle becomes visibly distressed. He claims to wish longer.
Sidi laughs and says she is preparing to marry Baroka because it’s the sole thing she will do. Sadiku blesses her and asks the gods for fertility.
The festivities begin,and even Lakunle seems to be stepping into the spirit of things when he chases a girl who shakes her butt at him.
The Lion and the Jewel Analysis
The Lion and therefore the Jewel takes place in Ilujinle, a little African village facing rapid change. because the play begins, it’s morning, and therefore the audience sees a marketplace, dominated by an immense ocean tree. To the left of the stage is a component of the village school, within which the scholars chant the “Arithmetic Times.” Sidi enters the stage; she may be a beautiful, slim girl with plaited hair—the true village belle. Balancing a pail on her head and wearing broadcloth, Sidi attracts the eye of Lakunle, the young schoolteacher, who looks out the varsity windows to admire her beauty.
Lakunle, wearing an old-style, threadbare, unironed English suit, scolds Sidi for carrying the pail on her head, telling her that the load of the pail will hurt her spine and shorten her neck. He wants her to be a “modern” woman. Sidi, however, quickly reminds him of the days he has sworn that her looks don’t affect his love for her. there’s a comic book exchange of charge and countercharge between the 2, revealing Lakunle’s uncomfortable attitude about Sidi’s showing parts of her body: “How often must I tell you, Sidi, that a grown-up girl must cover her. . . . Her shoulders.”
This first scene also introduces Baroka, the Bale (the village chief): Sixty-two years old, wiry, goateed, he’s also attracted by Sidi. The Bale, the other of Lakunle, is an artful, traditional man who resists the building of roads and railways, trying to stay his society insulated from “progress.” The dialogue between these two men constitutes the crux of the play: the conservative, clear view of life represented by the Bale versus the progressive sloganeering of Lakunle. Beneath this sociopolitical theme is that the other struggle—the war for Sidi’s love.
The second scene of the play, “Noon,” introduces Sadiku, for forty-one years the chief wife within the Bale’s harem. Sadiku, acting as an ambassador for the “Lion,” the Bale, announces to Sidi that the Bale wants her for his latest wife; it’s, after all, been five months since he last took a wife. during a comic exchange, Sidi, Sadiku, and Lakunle argue about who shall have Sidi. Lakunle, during a rage more pretended than true, denounces the Bale: “What! The greedy dog! Insatiate camel of a foolish, doting race; Is he at his tricks again?”
Sidi reminds him that she will represent herself, bolstered by her “fame” that has been spread throughout the region by the magazine pictures taken by a photographer. Sadiku, no novice at wooing wives for the Lion, appeals to Sidi by telling her that even the Lion has got to die sometime, and Sidi will then have the respect of being the senior wife of a replacement Bale. Sidi, however, isn’t easily won. She slyly asks: “Baroka not request my hand. The stranger brought his book of images. Why did the Lion not bestow his gift before my face was lauded to the world?” Lakunle, always able to insult the Bale, interjects: “I don’t know what the ladies see in him. His eyes are small and always red with wine.”
Lakunle contrasts his “dew-moistened” face with the Lion’s “leather piece.” Here and throughout the play, Lakunle’s words end in his defeat. Soyinka’s subtle use of linguistic register consistently highlights Lakunle’s role of poorly prepared reformer. Lakunle espouses progress, success, civilization, and fame, but never supports his empty generalities.
The third and final scene, “Night,” opens, much an equivalent because of the first scene, within the village center. the competition for Sidi’s love continues with the Lion reminding everyone of his virility and touting his manliness. His attempts are again unsuccessful. during a conversation with Sadiku, the crafty Lion conceives a replacement ruse: He announces that his manhood is gone. The Bale’s feigned impotence releases Sadiku’s suppressed feelings, and she or he invites Sidi to celebrate the women’s victory over the dominating male. Unfortunately for Sadiku and Sidi, the old Lion still has life in him. The Lion and the Jewel Summary The Lion and the Jewel Summary The Lion and the Jewel Summary The Lion and the Jewel Summary The Lion and the Jewel Summary