Explain the metaphor of the title  Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson in regard to the various characters and eposides in the play.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The analogy of the "lion" in the title and the lion as it prowls and makes its presence felt in all the characters, roaring unexpectedly and without restraint adds to the drama of Lion in the Streets.

Isobel will wander, apparently aimlessly but in fact she will facilitate the plot and link the characters' living "nightmare" as she watches powerlessly as they destroy themselves. Each path Isobel takes will lead her to another crime. She is fighting her own demons, her own lion and her desperate pleas, although they are unheeded, ensure that her character grows:

 The lion is here, in your streets....He is trying to kill you, to kill all of your children

Isobel will ultimately be able to escape as it is this pattern of violence that allows her to understand that everyone is a victim of the lion and she is able to "kill the lion" although in fact it is more that she defeats the lion as she destroys the concept of the lion.

A lion kills its prey without mercy and because it is hungry. The characters, some of whom are merciless, try to destroy others, showing no mercy as if they are simply satisfying a hunger.

Bill rejects his wife Sue, humiliating her in public. Laura brings out the worst in herself and Rhonda as they fight and argue over the children's sugar intake. Christine incurs Scarlett's wrath and unleashes Scarlett's pent up anger as she clings to any shred of dignity. Christine will get her story and nothing else matters. Ben will reveal his step-father's abuse to his adoptive mother who will blame herself for the fact that Isobel had "the look" in her eyes that Ben so despised - the trusting look much like his mother's and his mother never saved him and he never spared Isobel.

A lion prowls and strikes its prey without warning. Sometimes it waits for a long time and when it strikes it devours its prey. By the end Isobel is able to "sheath its claws and quiet its roar."  This brings hope for the future and the ability of every person to "cage" the lion and find a way to control it.