The Lion and The Jewel main character Sidi sitting in the middle of the picture wearing a striped dress with the outlines of two male faces on other side of her

The Lion and the Jewel

by Wole Soyinka

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What is admirable about Sidi's character in The Lion and the Jewel?

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What's admirable about Sidi in The Lion and the Jewel is that she knows her own mind.

Sidi is fully aware of her beauty and is determined to use it in order to get what she wants. As a woman in a changing but still traditional society, Sidi occupies a subordinate position in relation to men. Even so, she can still exert more power than other women on account of her remarkable beauty.

That beauty of hers gives her the power to decide between competing suitors, the only real power she'll have this side of marriage. To some, Sidi may come across as manipulative; however, the asymmetrical power relations between men and women in this society leave women with few options in controlling their own lives. In any case, whatever else we might say about Sidi, there's no doubt that she knows her own mind, and that's a very important thing to have in this society, especially for a woman.

Though Sidi is hardly the most likable of characters, one can admire the way she recognizes and uses the power of her beauty.

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