What happens in the "dance of the lost traveler" in Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the "dance of the lost traveler," Lakunle plays the role of the foreign photographer who is driving through the jungle. The four girls who are miming and acting as the wheels of the car stop to represent how the foreigner's car breaks down. After attempting to fix his car, Lakunle gives up and begins to walk through the jungle. When Lakunle rests his back against a tree, a snake slithers down and scares him. Lakunle then runs until he is a safe distance away and takes a swig from his flask. Then a monkey hops out onto the path, and a roar is heard throughout the jungle. Lakunle drinks copious amounts from his flask to restore his nerves. While he continues to walk through the jungle, he hears the voice of a girl. After drinking the rest of his whiskey, Lakunle throws his flask in the direction of the voice and hears a splash. He slowly creeps through the brush to see where he threw his flask, and his eyes begin to widen. He then takes out his camera and snaps several pictures until he accidently slips. Lakunle loses his footing and falls into the pool of water where Sidi has been bathing. Sidi then appears wearing nothing but a towel, and Lakunle is soaked when he returns to the stage. Sidi runs off the stage and returns with a group of angry villagers. They then take the lost traveler to see the Bale, who is behind the Odan tree in the center of the village. Instead of punishing the lost traveler, Baroka holds a feast in his honor and gets the photographer drunk. Baroka allows the foreigner to take pictures of Sidi before he gets too drunk and leaves the party. Lakunle then exits the scene, which signifies the end of the "dance of the lost traveler."

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The Lion and the Jewel

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