Lakunle is Ilujinle's schoolteacher. Because he was educated at a British school, he seems to enjoy emphasizing how well he knows English. Lakunle wants to modernize Ilunjinle and marry Sidi, the most beautiful woman in the village. Sidi knows that she is beautiful and understands that she can use her beauty to gain power of men like Lakunle. Lakunle seems to resent her flaunting her beauty, as he tells Sidi in the first scene of the play:
You could wear something.
Most modest women do. But you, no.
You must run around naked in the streets.
Does it not worry you... the bad names,
The lewd jokes, the tongue-licking noises
Which girls, uncovered like you,
Draw after them?
Sidi then rebukes him:
Is it Sidi who makes the men choke
In their cups, or you, with your big loud words
And no meaning?
Lakunle seems frustrated by Sidi, and though he wants to marry her and make her a "modern wife," he does not want to pay her bride price, as is tradition and instead seeks to woo her with beautiful words:
Wasted! Wasted! Sidi, my heart
Bursts into flowers with my love.
Lakunle also turns his nose up at his village's traditional customs and culture.
A savage custom, barbaric, out-dated,
Rejected, denounced, accursed,
Excommunicated, archaic, degrading,
Humiliating, unspeakable, redundant.
Retrogressive, remarkable, unpalatable.
Lakunle, young and arrogant, flaunts his overblown knowledge of English and treats his village's traditions and customs with snobbery. He represents modernity and postcolonialism, and his character also conflicts with Baroka, the village chief. Baroka also wants to marry Sidi, and he ultimately does because Lakunle, though he is younger and more handsome, seemed cold and condescending to Sidi and would also not pay her bride price.