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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Discussion Topic

Sadiku's age and role in The Lion and the Jewel

Summary:

Sadiku in The Lion and the Jewel is an elderly woman who serves as the senior wife of the village chief, Baroka. Her role is significant as she acts as a go-between, arranging marriages and conveying Baroka's wishes to others, highlighting the traditional customs and gender dynamics within the village.

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What is Sadiku's age in "The Lion and the Jewel"?

In The Lion and the Jewel, Sadiku, Baroka’s senior wife, is nearly seventy years old. Recall how Lakunle berates Sadiku for helping her husband get young women like Sidi to marry him:

For though you are nearly seventy, your mind is simple and unformed. Have you no shame that at your age, you neither read nor write nor think? You spend your days as senior wife, collecting brides for Baroka.

Here, Lakunle expresses that Sadiku should be embarrassed about what she does. Sadiku plays a direct role in tricking Sidi into marrying Baroka, because she tells Sidi that Baroka is impotent even though he is not (though she does not know this at the time). She also tells Sidi that Baroka will probably not live much longer and that she will live a good life with him. This leads to Baroka sexually assaulting the unexpecting Sidi and taking her virginity.

Sadiku helps Baroka get Sidi because she knows that Sidi will be a good addition to the polygamous household. As the senior wife, Sadiku plays a direct role in managing the household, and she wants to ensure that the new member of the household is not one who will cause trouble or hurt the household’s reputation. Sidi is a good choice, because she is beautiful and has a good reputation that will increase the household’s prestige.

The behavior of Baroka and Sadiku represents many traditional ideals that Lakunle feels are demeaning and bring shame to women like Sidi. Lakunle’s feelings about Sadiku show how he rejects traditional village customs. He wants his village to adopt Western customs and ideals that he believes are progressive. But in the end, we see that Sidi is committed to such traditions when she rejects Lakunle and marries Baroka.

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What is Sadiku's role in The Lion and the Jewel?

In Wole Soyinka’s play The Lion and the Jewel, the character of Sadiku is a well-to-do, high status senior woman in the village. Sadiku understands that her current and future status are connected to that of her husband, Baroka, the village leader or Bale, who is the “lion” of the title. This status includes the additional wives that Baroka will take, as the society is polygamous. Concerned that Baroka is showing poor judgment in choosing these junior wives, Sadiku decides to take an active role in cementing his marriage to Sidi, the titular “jewel,” who is also being courted by Lakunle.

By tapping into her knowledge of her husband’s psychological make-up, she develops a winning strategy for convincing Sidi to accept him over the much younger Lakunle. At the same time, she can succeed in humbling two arrogant people: her husband and the young beauty. Sadiku shares with Sidi a personal problem that Baroka shared with her in confidence: he is impotent.

Although she is disturbed by Sidi’s disrespectful reaction to this news, Sadiku joins the younger woman in celebrating the apparent victory for women that this development represents. Ultimately, Sidi’s mocking behavior toward Baroka restores his virility and their marriage goes forward.

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In the play The Lion and the Jewel, what is the role of Sadiku in the love circle?

In Wole Soyinka's play, Sadiku plays several crucial roles. As the Bale's senior wife, she has considerable authority within their household and, because he is a powerful man, in the community at large. Although she might not have veto power over his choice of an additional wife, her opinion is important because of her function as household manager. The Bale knows that if Sadiku does not approve of the new wife, there will be discord at home.

Because Sidi would be a desirable addition to their household (because of her beauty and positive reputation in the village), Sadiku commits to helping the Bale win her. Whatever scruples she might have had, she sets them aside and embarks on a campaign that she expects will be convincing. Sadiku does not bother selling Sidi on the positive features of the Bale's reputation, assuming that Sidi already heard all that. Instead, she appeals to her desires to help the Lion by making him seem vulnerable and nonthreatening—that is, impotent.

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In the play The Lion and the Jewel, what is the role of Sadiku in the love circle?

Sadiku is the senior wife of the Bale in the play The Lion and the Jewel. Baroka sends Sadiku to the village with orders to woo the village belle, Sidi, and convince Sidi to marry him. Sadiku does her best to convince Sidi that she will enjoy a blissful life with Baroka, and even mentions that Baroka will probably die soon. However, Sidi refuses to marry Baroka, and rejects the Bale's invitation to join him for supper. Sadiku is unsuccessful and returns to the Bale to give him the news of Sidi's rejection. Baroka cunningly tells Sadiku that he is impotent, knowing that Sadiku will gossip about his condition. Sadiku swears to keep it a secret, but as soon as she enters the town, she sings praises about Baroka's impotence. Sadiku tells Sidi about Baroka's condition, and Sidi agrees to attend Baroka's dinner because she wishes to make fun of him, and is no longer worried about the Bale's seductive powers. Sadiku is essentially a pawn in Baroka's game of wooing Sidi. She believes that Baroka is actually impotent and shares his "secret" with the town, just as he expected her to. After Sidi loses her virginity to Baroka, Sidi tells Sadiku what happened, and Sadiku tells her to cheer up.

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In The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka, what role does Sadiku play in Sidi's visit to Baroka?

Sadiku is Baroka's head wife who petitions Sidi to marry Baroka in the play The Lion and the Jewel on the Bale's behalf. Sidi initially declines Baroka's offer because she has become conceited after seeing her photographs in a magazine and thinks that the Bale is much too old for her. Sadiku is surprised to find out that Sidi neglects Baroka's offer, then invites Sidi to a meal at Baroka's palace. Sidi also declines Baroka's invitation, claiming that she's heard stories about how the Bale deceives the women at his suppers. Sadiku insists that everything Sidi heard about the Bale is a lie, but Sidi still refuses to attend the meal. Sadiku goes back to the palace and tells Baroka that Sidi neglected his offer. The Bale then tells Sadiku that he is impotent, and he hoped that Sidi would excite him again. Sadiku believes Baroka and swears to keep her mouth shut about his condition. That night, Sadiku enters the village and begins to dance and sing about winning a victory against her masters. When Sidi asks Sadiku what she is talking about, Sadiku tells Sidi that Baroka is impotent. Sidi is joyful to hear the news and tells Sadiku that she will agree to go to Baroka's meal so that she can mock him. Sadiku is unaware that Baroka lied to her, knowing full well that Sadiku would gossip about his impotence. Once Sidi visits Baroka's palace, he is able to woo her into sleeping with him. Sadiku unknowingly was an essential part of Baroka's plan to deceive and woo Sidi.

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