Comment on the role of Lem in The Emperor Jones.

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Lem is "a native chief." He appears only in the last scene of the play: ""Lem is a heavy-set, ape-faced old savage of the extreme African type, dressed only in a loin cloth." Once he hired a "murderin' nigger" (sc.1) to assasinate Jones who failed to kill him from a close range of just ten feet. Jones capitalised on this incident and spread the rumour that only a silver bullet could kill him. He also moulded a silver bullet and went around telling everyone that at the appropriate time he would shoot himself with the silver bullet. He spread the rumour that he and only he could shoot himself with the silver bullet. So Lem in the final scene alongwith his "rag-concealed naked soldiers" mould silver bullets and finally kill Jones. Lem mocks at the dead body of Jones saying, "Dead as a 'erring! Where's yer 'igh an' mighty airs now, yer bloomin' Majesty?"


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