The significance of the play's title lies in the symbolic nature of these two names. The "Lion" is an elderly man, Baroka, whose power and potency are referred to frequently, and his sexual potency is seen as indicative of his status as a man and, to some extent, as a ruler and chieftain of his village. The lion's symbolic meaning is one of the most legendary of the natural world. The singular male leader of a pride of male and female lions is often the eldest male of the pride. This male lion is dominant and is frequently challenged by younger males. The eldest male keeps his position of power by besting the other males in fighting or by intimidating them into backing down from challenging his dominance, thereby winning the right to mate with the females.
The "jewel" is not a living symbol, and this is appropriate since Sidi is considered valuable for her youth and beauty and is somewhat objectified. She is like a beautiful possession on display at Baroka's side, much like a piece of jewelry or a jewel in a crown. The precious nature of a jewel is often associated with royalty, so Sidi is not only an attractive companion, but also an asset to Baroka's standing as a monarch. Sidi is wooed by a younger man who also admires her beauty, but he is an intellectual and does not possess the animalistic power of the "lionlike" Baroka. It is as if Sidi needs this power of the flesh and blood to balance her abstract existence as an object of beauty. Also, since she is led to believe that Baroka is impotent, she may think her beauty and worth somehow reawaken his potency, thereby reaffirming her own precious value.