The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers
by Wole Soyinka

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What is the role and function of Lakunle in the play The Lion and the Jewel

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lakunle's role is to highlight the growing influence of Western culture on Africa, even in the remotest villages. An educated man who thinks that the tribal customs are outmoded and barbaric, Lakunle is determined to wean Sidi away from the old ways. Yet he fails, as Sidi chooses for her husband Baroka, the village chief, the epitome of everything Lakunle detests.

Lakunle's failure to woo Sidi stands as a reminder of just how far Nigeria must go if it is to be a thoroughly modern, Westernized country. But the suggestion here is that for Western ways to gain a foothold in Africa, they must at least be properly understood, and even then must only be introduced gradually before being incorporated into traditional practices. Lakunle doesn't understand any of this, which is ultimately why he is unsuccessful in gaining Sidi's hand in marriage.

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lakunle is an educated young man who returns to the village to teach school. He is Baroka's rival as a suitor to Sidi.

Lakunle represents the promises and pitfalls of independent Nigeria and embodies postcolonial identity. He is proud to be a modern man and calls attention to the negative features of traditional society. However, he seems eager to throw out the good with the bad. Advocating freedom for women, for example, he seems to Sidi to be bossy, unappreciative, and condescending. He rejects paying bride as an outmoded custom, but Sidi interprets his reluctance as disrespect for her value and an excuse meant to hide his inability to pay it. His education in the British system has diminished his ability to relate to his own people. Sidi rejects him in favor of Baroka.

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James Cooper eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lakunle is the village schoolteacher and a proponent of Western civilization. He dresses like an Englishman and has a penchant for using “big words.” Wole Soyinka uses the protagonist ,...

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