The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers
by Wole Soyinka

The Lion and the Jewel book cover
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In the play The Lion and the Jewel, what is the role of Sadiku in the love circle?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Wole Soyinka's play, Sadiku plays several crucial roles. As the Bale's senior wife, she has considerable authority within their household and, because he is a powerful man, in the community at large. Although she might not have veto power over his choice of an additional wife, her opinion is important because of her function as household manager. The Bale knows that if Sadiku does not approve of the new wife, there will be discord at home.

Because Sidi would be a desirable addition to their household (because of her beauty and positive reputation in the village), Sadiku commits to helping the Bale win her. Whatever scruples she might have had, she sets them aside and embarks on a campaign that she expects will be convincing. Sadiku does not bother selling Sidi on the positive features of the Bale's reputation, assuming that Sidi already heard all that. Instead, she appeals to her desires to help the Lion by making him seem vulnerable and nonthreatening—that is, impotent.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sadiku is the senior wife of the Bale in the play The Lion and the Jewel. Baroka sends Sadiku to the village with orders to woo the village belle, Sidi, and convince Sidi to marry him. Sadiku does her best to convince Sidi that she will enjoy a blissful life with Baroka, and even mentions that Baroka will probably die soon. However, Sidi refuses to marry Baroka, and rejects the Bale's invitation to join him for supper. Sadiku is unsuccessful and returns to the Bale to give him the news of Sidi's rejection. Baroka cunningly tells Sadiku that he is impotent, knowing that Sadiku will gossip about his condition. Sadiku swears to keep it a secret, but as soon as she enters the town, she sings praises about Baroka's impotence. Sadiku tells Sidi about Baroka's condition, and Sidi agrees to attend Baroka's dinner because she wishes to make fun of him, and is no longer worried about the Bale's seductive powers. Sadiku is essentially a pawn in Baroka's game of wooing Sidi. She believes that Baroka is actually impotent and shares his "secret" with the town, just as he expected her to. After Sidi loses her virginity to Baroka, Sidi tells Sadiku what happened, and Sadiku tells her to cheer up.

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