How does Sidi mock Baroka in her conversation with him?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Sidi enters Baroka's palace, he is in the middle of wrestling a younger man, and she mentions that his house seems empty. Baroka responds by asking Sidi if Ailatu, his favorite wife, is around, and Sidi tells him that she is not. Baroka says that Ailatu will be back and mentions to Sidi that he offended Ailatu after she hurt him while plucking his armpit hairs out. Sidi mocks Baroka by saying that Ailatu must have been dissatisfied with him for some reason, suggesting that he was not able to perform sexually. Baroka wisely controls his temper and refers to himself as a "humorless old ram." Sidi then comments that she thinks the other wrestler will win. Baroka asks Sidi if that is her wish and she mocks him by saying, "If the tortoise cannot tumble it does not mean that he can stand" (Soyinka 42). Sidi then tiptoes behind his back and makes funny gestures at him. Sidi continues to mock Baroka by mentioning that he is old enough to be her father and disrespects his character. She indirectly mocks him by commenting on his age and "open-handedness," and even brings up an embarrassing story about how Baroka has acquired a taste for ground corn and pepper because he is too cheap to pay for snuff. As Sidi continues to tell Baroka the story of her suitor, which incidentally happens to be him, she mentions that once upon a time he used to be fertile and please his wife. She also says that he is too tired anymore and cannot produce offspring. At this point in the play, Baroka realizes that Sadiku has told Sidi about his impotence, and he begins to play along in order to deceive Sidi.

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The Lion and the Jewel

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