Wole Soyinka

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What is a summary of The Lion and the Jewel?

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Written by Wole Soyinka, the play "The Lion and the Jewel" depicts how a lion by the name of Baroka attempts to marry Sidi (Jewel). Baroka is like the chief of the village and has fathered about sixty-three children. Baroka is very traditional in his way of life. Sidi is intrigued by both Baroka and Lakunle and is known as the beautiful jewel of the village. Lakunle is a very young and modern teacher who preaches westernized values and customs. Lakunle tries to change his community to a more modern state for no reason at all. The main point of the play is how Africa rapidly became modernized and evangelical. This drastic change drove a wedge between the modernists and the traditionalists. Another important theme of the play was the role of women. Previously, women were viewed as property and even the character of Lakunle feels as though Sidi is not as intelligent as himself, because she is a female. It is also assumed that those who were more traditional were not as intelligent as those who took on a more modern way of life. Those who were educated wanted to pass their knowledge along to those who had more traditional beliefs. The tribal people wanted no part of accepting the change and saw no point in gaining any form of education.

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