The Lion and The Jewel main character Sidi sitting in the middle of the picture wearing a striped dress with the outlines of two male faces on other side of her

The Lion and the Jewel

by Wole Soyinka

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How did Baroka seduce Sidi in "The Lion and the Jewel"?

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In The Lion and the Jewel, Baroka seduces Sidi by sending out the false rumor that he is impotent, so that she feels safe coming to his room. Once there, he shows his physical strength by flipping a younger man he was wrestling with. She finds out that he is not impotent when he rapes her. Though Lakunle says he will marry her, Sidi is seduced by Baroka's strength and virility and decides she will marry him.

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At first, the young Sidi has no interest in the sixty-two-year-old Baroka, despite his high status in the village. She is somewhat attracted to Western culture, in the form of the young, Lagos-educated schoolteacher Lakunle and in the form of her picture in a photo spread of the the village in a glossy magazine. In the context of this spread, Baroka is marginalized, looking old and dried out in a corner by a latrine.

Baroka, however, is a traditional trickster and uses his wily ways to seduce Sidi. Sadiku invites Sidi to a small feast in Baroka's room. At first she does not want to go, knowing that women who dine with Baroka end up marrying him. But Sadiku gives Sidi the false information that Baroka has become impotent. This makes it feel safe to visit him, and Sidi hopes to taunt him for his feebleness and impotency.

However, once there, she finds out how strong he still when he flips a younger man during an arm-wrestling contest. She also finds out he is not impotent when he rapes her. Lakunle says he will marry her anyway, but Sidi has already decided that Baroka is stronger and more virile, so she will marry him.

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How did Baroka win Sidi's affection in The Lion and the Jewel?

Throughout the play, Baroka wishes to marry Sidi, who views him with contempt. When Baroka initially asks for her hand in marriage, she refuses to accept and begins to ridicule the Bale. Sidi does not even accept Baroka's invitation to dinner at his palace. Baroka then devises a plan to woo Sidi by telling one his wives, Sadiku, that he is impotent. Baroka knows Sadiku will gossip and spread the false rumor of his impotence. After hearing the Bale is impotent, Sidi decides to visit Baroka and mock him to his face. When Sidi arrives, Baroka is able to woo her by showing her a machine that makes stamps. Baroka knows Sidi is extremely vain, and he promises her that every stamp leaving the village will have her image on it. He then demonstrates his wisdom while he discusses his views on modernity. Sidi is impressed with Baroka's wisdom and ends up losing her virginity to him. The next day, Sidi decides to marry Baroka.

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How did Baroka win Sidi's respect? 

After learning that her images are throughout a foreign magazine, Sidi becomes conceited. She attempts to mock the Bale to his face after she is told that Baroka is "impotent." When Sidi arrives at Baroka's home, he is able to woo her by showing Sidi a machine that makes stamps. Baroka understands that Sidi is a vain individual and convinces Sidi that he has that power to make sure every stamp leaving Ilujinle has her image on it. Baroka then begins to speak about the importance of gradually accepting modernity. Sidi is in awe of his wisdom and Baroka subtly compliments her throughout their conversation. After Baroka successfully woos Sidi, she admits to Lakunle that the Bale was masculine and full of zest when they slept together. She respects his sexual performance at such an old age and agrees to marry him. By convincing Sidi that her image will be on each stamp, sharing his wisdom about the future, and impressing her with his sexual performance, Baroka is able to win Sidi's respect.

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