Drama; The lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka and past questions

Drama; The lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka and past questions; This prose is necessary for students who are sitting for the following examinations and should be studied so as to stand a chance of passing the exams. JAMB, WAEC, NECO, GCE.

PLOT SUMMARY (Drama; The lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka and past questions)

 The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka narrate the tale of a young woman named Sidi, the village belle of Illujile, and her choice of a husband. Lakunle, a teacher, and Baroka, the village Bale, are her top two options.

The opening scene, titled “Morning,” is set in front of the schoolhouse that is built into the market in the middle of the village of Ilujinle. Lakunle, the local schoolteacher, runs outside to reprimand Sidi for walking around with a pail of water on her head as she enters the stage, saying that doing so may harm her neck and is inappropriate for a woman who is supposed to be modern.

He also chastises Sidi for wearing inappropriate clothing. When Lakunle expresses an interest in getting married to Sidi, she responds that she will do it whenever he likes as long as he pays the “bride price” first. Lakunle refuses to pay for a wife, claiming that it is offensive to do so.

Sidi is informed that a man known as The Stranger has returned to the village by several of the villagers who enter the stage. The Stranger previously visited the village and snapped pictures of Sidi. He has since returned with a copy of the magazine in which Sidi’s photos were published. The villagers tell Sidi that she is stunning in the magazine.

Together, the villagers conduct a mimed/dance performance that recounts The Stranger’s earlier visit to the community. Baroka interrupts the performance for a brief period before joining in himself and degrading Lakunle in front of the villagers, perhaps in an effort to minimize his significance. Sidi leads Lakunle away from the performance after it is over so she may find The Stranger and see herself in it.

 While reading a magazine he pulled out of his Agbada and admiring Sidi alone on stage, Baroka muses aloud to himself that it has been five full months since he last took a wife.

In the second scene, “Noon,” a road in Lujinle is the setting. Sidi is seen being completely enamored with the magazine photographs of her, and Lakunle then appears behind her carrying a load of firewood that belongs to Sidi. They both encounter Sadiku, the matriarchal Baraka’s wife. To Lakunle’s dismay, she approaches Sidi and informs her that Baroka wants to marry her.

After seeing her photos in the magazine, Sidi, who had previously been unaware of her beauty, declares that she is now both too good and too excellent to marry Baroka.

Sadiku swears he won’t take another wife after Sidi and assures her of a happy life in Baroka’s home. Sidi rejects the offer, though. She then gave Sidi the final message from the Baale, asking him to at the very least join him for dinner at his home tonight in honor of her. Baroka’s “little supper” is mocked by Sidi, who instructs Sadiku to inform him that she does not dine with married men. The story of how Baroka thwarted a plan to build a railroad close to Ilujinle is then interrupted by Lakunle, who performs a mimed dance as he relates the tale.

The scene shifts to Baroka’s palace, where he is seen laying in bed with Favorite, his most recent wife, kneeling next to him. Baroka declares his determination to choose a different wife.

Baroka accuses her of being a “vengeful beast” because of her response. Sadiku then makes a comeback to inform Baroka that Sidi has turned down his offer. Sidi’s remark devastated Baroka, but he expected it, so he devised another strategy by telling Sadiku that he had become impotent and had hoped that getting married to a young woman would cure him. Sadiku is forced to swear by Baroka not to inform anyone about his impotence.

The village center serves as the backdrop for the closing scene, “Night.” Sidi is seen admiring her portrait while standing at the classroom window. After a lengthy appeal from Sidi, Sadiku returns to the village’s streets where she joyfully celebrates the news of Baroka’s impotence.

Sidi makes the decision to go see Baroka so she can mock him internally. Lakunle is against this plan because he thinks Baroka will attack Sidi if he discovers that she is making fun of him.

 Arriving at Baroka’s palace, Sidi is greeted by Baroka, who pretends to be unaware that Sadiku has been asking Sidi to marry him. Sidi learns that Baroka intends to have the hamlet produce its own stamps, and he assures her that her image will be featured on them, making her face well-known throughout the nation.

When Sadiku and Lakunle return to the hamlet, they observe a mimed dance performance where the rumor of Baroka’s impotence is circulated. Sidi arrives back to them, sobbing uncontrollably. In response to Sadiku’s inquiry about Sidi’s virginity, Lakunle expresses her fear that she has been sexually assaulted.

Despite this, Lakunle declares that he will wed Sidi, and Sidi flees. After following Sidi, Sadiku goes back to Lakunle. Sidi is getting ready for a wedding, Sadiku informs Lakunle. Lakunle, who believes that things are going too quickly, is shocked by this news. Lakunle is ridiculed by Sidi when he returns for thinking she would wed him. Baroka, who had pretended to be impotent in order to get Sidi to visit him, learns of Sidi’s intention to wed him. Sidi sings as she leaves the stage.


Themes In The Book Lion And The Jewel

The Battle of Tradition vs. Modernity.

The conflict between tradition and modernity is arguably the play’s most overt topic. In the play, Baroka represents tradition and Lakunle represents modern consciousness. It appears that Soyinka is drawing a distinct distinction between these two. However, Soyinka challenges the audience’s expectations as the play goes on.

When it’s expedient to do so, Lakunle appears to give up his progressive ideas and supports a number of antiquated viewpoints. Similarly, Baroka claims that while he does not despise progress, he does not find its monotony and stasis to be amusing. He repels the intruder, the surveyor in charge of overseeing railroad work.

He accomplishes this by paying off the white surveyor to relocate the rail lines via other nearby towns. In this manner, he prevents the arrival of civilization in Llujinle. Lakunle, on the other hand, has a rudimentary understanding of modernism. When Baroka demonstrates that modernity and tradition can coexist, tradition ultimately triumphs over modernity.

Soyinka suggests that progress is not terrible, but that it must be done on African terms by using these activities and conflicts between the characters who stand for tradition and modernity.

Gender Roles

At various times in the play, the inhabitants of Ilujinle alternately uphold and reject established gender roles. Traditional gender standards, which call for women to show deference to men, are broken by Sidi’s brazenly confrontational character and Sadiku’s unreliability, but by the play’s conclusion, they have learned to live by tradition. While having a duty to his subjects due to his position as the village’s headman, Baroka also has the ability to abuse that position thanks to his strength. 

Sidi frequently responds to Lakunle with sharp words that show her contempt for him and complete disrespect for his viewpoints. In her relationship with Lakunle, Sidi has a position of power. She takes charge by requesting her bride price and flaunting her newfound celebrity. She mocks Lakunle with her attractiveness and the favorable impressions she has left on Baroka and the photographer.

Even though Sidi consistently prevails in the confrontations that define her relationship with Lakunle, she loses when she challenges Baroka after learning Sadiku’s secret. Sadiku’s perception of her control over Baroka is flimsy due to Baroka’s cunning ways, and when the Baale makes his phony confession of impotence, it just strengthens her misplaced confidence in her position. Sadiku falls for his ruse, and Sidi follows suit, demonstrating the immovability of Baroka’s status as the masculine superior.

The intense sexual urge Baroka has for Sidi both upholds and defies gender conventions. Baroka establishes that the Baale is anticipated to father children far into his sixties by describing the virility of his ancestors. As the village chief, Baroka also has parental responsibility to his subjects, but his desire for Sidi outweighs this feeling of duty, particularly when he determines he has something to prove to her regarding their respective roles in society.

Women’s Marginalization 

The issue of the marginalization of women as property is present in Wole Soyinka’s “The Lion and the Jewel,” which was published at a time when polygamy was popular in Africa. Historically, they were viewed as assets that could be acquired, sold, or accumulated. In the play, Sadiku, the late father of Baroka’s first wife, is given to him and becomes his first wife. Even when he informed his most recent wife of his desire to wed another woman, he did it without considering her feelings and was even referred to as a “vengeful beast.”

The “contemporary” Lakunle, who despises Sidi for having a smaller brain and subsequently reasons that it will be simpler to marry her once she has lost her virginity because there is no need for dowry in such circumstances, also embodies this idea.

Manipulation and Deception

When Baroka lies to Sadiku about his virility knowing full well that she can’t keep a secret, the play’s theme of lying and manipulation is clear. Additionally, other characters in the drama decide to deceive and control others in order to further their goals. Being forthright is thought to be less effective than doing this.

Unaware that the Baale had tricked Sadiku into taming Sidi and win her over as one of his wives, Sidi and Sadiku attempt to dupe the Baale so they might revel in his demise and enjoy a feeling of victory. Even though the play downplayed these actions with lots of witty banter, it is well known that lying and deceit are prominent themes in the play.

The Influence of Image

In this drama, images hold a lot of power. The first is that photographs are symbols of the modern. They provoke feelings of importance and grandeur, are amazing to view, and are simple to transmit. It makes sense why Sidi is fixated by the image of her in the magazine. Second, in the play, images have an impact on how people perceive characters.

Sidi gains notoriety because of her large magazine photograph, while Bale is ashamed because his photo is placed next to a picture of a bathroom. Whether or not people do this on purpose, they will associate Bale with such unsavory things. Sidi’s conceit in the play was greatly influenced by the Image.



The village’s belle and the crown jewel is Sidi. She is extremely attractive and clever, and, like Baroka, she possesses the local intelligence and sensibility necessary to live a dignified life as a person. She is a supporter of tradition; as an illustration, she would refuse to wed Lakunle if her entire bride price was not paid because she did not want to become “a cheap bowl for the community pit.”

She promotes the llujinle culture and way of life through this position. She became overly aware of her beauty when the stranger returned to the hamlet with a magazine filled with images of Sidi in all her splendor. After viewing the images, Sidi got fascinated with her appearance and experienced an exaggerated sense of her dominance over men.

She became overly self-conscious and boasted about her beauty. Because it feeds her vanity and promotes her attractiveness, even outside of llujinle, she loves development and agrees with Baroka’s conception of it. However, according to Lakunle, certain types of progress “flip the world upside down.”


Ilujinle’s Bale, or head, is the 62-year-old Baroka. He practices polygamy, and five months had passed since his most recent marriage at the beginning of the play. When Sidi’s photos emerge in the magazine, Baroka’s curiosity about Sidi changes into a desire to wed her. He wrestles with a man who is stronger than him to keep himself in shape. Sidi appears uncomfortable when he rejects Baroka’s proposal because of his age, but this is only a ploy. Despite Sidi and Sadiku’s plan to deceive Baroka into losing his masculinity, Baroka seizes the initiative and exacts retribution on Sidi. Baroka demonstrates both his cunning and his commitment to upholding traditional patriarchal conventions by pressuring Sidi into marriage.


Lakunle, a young instructor who admires Sidi and contemporary lifestyles, makes ineffective paternalistic attempts to win Sidi over. Despite his claims to be an educated man, Lakunle is stupid and lacking in common sense. Ilujinle is compared negatively to Lagos, a significant Nigerian city where modernity has already arrived by Lakunle, who considers traditional village life to be beneath him. Lakunle claims to love Sidi, but he frequently calls her names and thinks less highly of her than he does.

Because of this, Lakunle is unfazed by Sidi’s rejections. He is confident that she will eventually realize that he is her best choice because he is a forward-thinking man. By the play’s conclusion, however, Lakunle is shown to be mistaken, and Sidi decides to wed Baroka after being outwitted.


Sadiku, Baroka’s first wife, is respectful to him when they are together but works with Sidi to undermine his masculinity. When Baroka shows interest in Sidi, Sadiku, who was Baroka’s first wife, acts as a matchmaker. Ironically, Sadiku clearly dislikes Baroka’s dominance and celebrates his apparent impotence as a win for women over men, despite the fact that she fears modernity’s impending advent in hamlet.

The Stranger

The outsider who is the stranger is a photographer. Although the photographer is absent from the play, one of his images of Sidi can be found in a publication. Sidi is inspired by the idea that others outside of Ilujinle have seen and admired her beauty via the eyes of an outsider—the photographer—and feels more confident.

The Wrestler

Baroka hires the wrestler to keep him in shape. He shows up at several moments in the play, signifying a time when Baroka is poised to exert control over someone else. When Sidi initially enters Baroka’s home, the two are already engaged in a wrestling match; Baroka continues to wrestle the man while he welcomes Sidi and converses with her. Sidi offends Baroka with her brazen disdain, and Baroka becomes enraged. Baroka then defeats the wrestler and says that Sidi’s bravado gave him extra strength.


1. What are the themes of ‘The lion and the Jewel’?

2. Discuss the character in ‘ The lion and the Jewel’

3. What type of play is the Lion and the Jewel?

4. Discuss the use of symbolism in the play.

5. What literary devices were used in the play?

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Drama; The lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka and past questions