Describe the dramatic roles of Sidi, Baroka, and Lakunle in the play The Lion and the Jewel.  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sidi is the village belle and the object of Lakunle and Baroka's affection throughout the play The Lion and the Jewel. She is a beautiful girl but is conceited and rather simple. After seeing her images in a magazine, she becomes full of herself. Sidi refuses to marry Lakunle and even rejects Baroka's marriage proposal. Sidi believes Sadiku's rumor that the Bale is impotent and visits Baroka to mock him. Unsuspectingly, the Bale is able to charm Sidi, and she loses her virginity to Baroka. Sidi then accepts the fact that she is no longer a maid and decides to marry Baroka instead of Lakunle.

Baroka is the aging Bale in the village of Ilujinle. He is the most highly esteemed member of the village, and is the wisest character throughout the play. Although Baroka embraces traditional African customs, he is not fully opposed to modernization and progress. Baroka comes up with a cunning plan to win Sidi's heart by telling his head wife, Sadiku, that he is impotent. Sadiku is a notorious gossip, and the Bale knows that she will spread the rumor about his condition. His plan works to perfection, and Sidi enters his room under the belief that he cannot perform sexually. He charms Sidi by showing her a stamp machine and promises that her image will adorn every stamp coming from Ilujinle. Baroka successfully woos Sidi and he eventually marries her at the end of the play.

Lakunle is the village school teacher who values Western civilization and is a proponent of modernization and progress. He tries to come across as intelligent by using "big words," but the majority of the community views him as a madman and fool. He has grandiose ideas regarding the future of Ilujinle and strictly opposes traditional customs. Lakunle refuses to pay the bride-price and initially tells Sidi that it is a savage custom. He comes across as shallow and insincere at the end of the play when it is revealed that his true intention was simply to avoid paying the bride-price. He does not marry Sidi, and quickly forgets her as he chases another young maid during the wedding ceremony.

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The Lion and the Jewel

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