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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What are the similarities between Lakunle and Baroka in The Lion and the Jewel?

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Several major similarities are that Lakunle and Baroka are both men, they live in Ilujinle village, and they want to marry the same woman, the beautiful Sidi. Both men are shallow, in that they primarily value Sidi’s beauty, and they are arrogant and confident of their own success. In their efforts to win her over, both men misrepresent themselves and use deceptive techniques, even as they appeal to Sango, a god of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Although their strategies are different, each relies primarily on his way with words to convince Sidi that he is better suited to be her husband (although Bale also enlists his other wife’s help). Both men also seem committed to male superiority, even as they praise many female qualities, and expect to change Sidi after marriage.

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Although the characters of Lakunle and Baroka have many differences, they happen to share several similarities throughout the play The Lion and the Jewel. Both Lakunle and Baroka wish to marry the village belle, Sidi. Lakunle confesses his love, yet refuses to pay the bride-price and does not marry her. However, Baroka is able to deceive Sidi into believing that he is impotent and successfully woos her after promising Sidi that her face will be on every printed stamp coming from Ilujinle. Throughout the play, Lakunle is a proponent of modernization and values progress over maintaining traditional customs. Baroka values traditional customs but accepts progress towards modernization. He tells Sidi that he and Lakunle are alike and believes that change is a good thing. Both characters are also intelligent. Lakunle is educated and values reading and writing. He is considered the village madman for the "big words" he uses as well as his affinity for Western culture. Baroka is also viewed as smart and cunning throughout the play. He is known as the Fox, and Sadiku warns Sidi of his wit before she attends his dinner. Baroka outsmarts both Sadiku and Sidi into successfully getting what he wants.

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