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There are various references and variations of the lion metaphor throughout Lion in the Streets and Judith Thompson aptly reveals “It’s this animal we all have tucked away in the corner of our subconscious and it’s very frightening to see the cage unlocked...”
There are extremes of characters represented in this "urban jungle" and the predators - Bill, Laura, Christine, and Edward represent powerful extremes of some collective power over others such as the lion is the king of the jungle.
Isobel wants to confront the lion and knows Christine has the capacity because she is "hard." - "SHE will take me to the lion. " Isobel screams at Christine "SLAVE! You are a slave of the lion!" . The "lion" that Isobel refers to has been repressed for so long that its unleasing is severe. It is Isobel's exposure to the individual events that makes her realise that she "must kill the lion." It is the interpretation of this and whether Ben is representative of the evil so HE must die or whether the evil (the lion) WITHIN him must be killed. Hence , Isobel's forgiveness at the end.
The outburst between Laura and Rhonda who fight over the effects of sugar on children and the next generation of "coke addicts" is a metaphor in itself as the women fight like female lions protecting their cubs, each one believing herself to be right.
I’ll open my jaws and swallow—you is the disabled Scarlett's response when her secret is threatened by the reporter, revealing her predatory capacity and how the "lion" has many forms.
There is "the lion's smell of cruelty" between Edward and Sherry. There is always the potential to change the course of events but the instinct to "kill" remains as Sherry suffers further humilition.
Isobel is constantly forced to face violence and so the "lion in the streets" waits for her until , at the end, Isobel is able to confront the lion in herself and so dispel its myth also encouraging the audience to do so - to "tame" the lion. The lion may not have been killed but Isobel has been able to "sheath its claws and quiet its roar."
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