What are some social issues throughout the play The Lion and the Jewel?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wole Soyinka examines a variety of social issues throughout his play The Lion and the Jewel. One of the most prominent social issues in the play deals with tradition versus modernity. Lakunle, and to a certain extent Sidi, support modern ways of life which include greater interaction with the outside world, accessibility to modern conveniences, and rejection of traditional views. The Bale, Sadiku, and the villagers challenge modern ways of life in favor of their traditional culture. The villagers are quick to apprehend the foreigner while he is taking pictures of Sidi, and Lakunle tells the story of how Baroka foiled a Public Works project. Other social issues Soyinka examines in his play deal with the role of women in society and ideas regarding love and marriage. In traditional Yoruba culture, women are bought into marriage by the payment of a bride-price and are marginalized as property. Sidi seeks to break free from that tradition and enhance her status throughout society. Soyinka also explores the social issue of colonial exploitation. Foreigners attempt to build a railway through the village and a lost traveler benefits from using Sidi's image in a popular magazine. These exploitative actions also enhance the theme of tradition versus modernization.

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The Lion and the Jewel

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