The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers
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What is a character sketch of Sidi from the play The Lion and the Jewel?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the play, the plot revolves around Sidi’s decision about which man she will marry. She is the most renowned beauty of her village and, as such, believes she can freely choose among her suitors. Finally, she decides to become Baroka’s second wife rather than marry Lakunle. While Sidi initially seems like a very modern young woman who would be attracted to the equally modern school teacher, Lakunle, she proves to be more complex.

Sidi is portrayed as being extremely vain, a trait that is exacerbated when her photograph is published in the newspaper. Sidi’s limited endorsement of modern changes also surfaces when Lakunle, although claiming he wants to marry her, refuses to pay the bride price on the basis of its being an old-fashioned custom. She interprets this as a sign of cheapness that will likely continue into their marriage and result in her husband not buying her lovely things. Sidi also understands her own intelligence and takes pride in being treated well; Lakunle patronizes her and, despite his modern pretensions, sees his role as dominant, which she resents.

Baroka has retained his role as an important social and political leader largely through his shrewd assessment of human nature. He understands that Sidi is more ambitious than she is modern. Rather than talk down to her, he both tricks her by faking impotence and flatters her by proposing to make her even more famous, by putting her face on postage stamps.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sidi is a beautiful young woman who becomes famous throughout her village after a foreign photographer publishes images of her in a magazine. Upon seeing her images, Sidi becomes extremely conceited and believes she is more important than the village Bale. She ridicules both Lakunle and Baroka, and even disrespects Sadiku, who relays the message that Baroka requests her hand in marriage. Sidi is also presented as an unintelligent girl who is tricked after Sadiku spreads the rumor that Baroka is impotent. Sidi believes Sadiku and attempts to mock Baroka to his face, but Baroka is able to woo Sidi after he promises Sidi that her image will be on every stamp leaving the village of Ilujinle. Sidi ultimately decides to marry the Bale after she loses her virginity to him. Overall, Sidi is portrayed as an attractive, conceited, flighty individual who gets taken advantage of by the cunning village leader.

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