African DramaArt and Literature

Figures of Speech and Literary Devices in The Lion and The Jewel

Introduction to the Figures of Speech and Literary Devices in The Lion and the Jewel

Figures of Speech in the Lion and the Jewel will be discussed in full. Thus, literary devices will also be featured as it relates with the analysis.

In Wole Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel, there are occurrences of the figures of Speech and literary devices devices of aphorism, authoral intrusion, dramatic-irony, flashback, high burlesque, innuendo, invective, mime, parody, and symbolism.

Analysis of Figures of Speech in The Lion and The Jewel.


The case of aphorism is Sidi’s proverb to Lakunle to leave Illujinle for another place, if lhe cannot live with the bushy people of llujinle.Sidi makes the proverb thus: imhis shell, he changes _house.

Authoral intrusion

There is an instance of authora/ intrusion,.at the point where Sidi says she will become ruined, if as a young girl, she becomes married to an already old Baroka. This is when she first rejects Baroka’s marriage proposal through Sadiku. With the authoral intrusion, Soyinka raises the theme that: African leaders’ selfishness is preventing African youths’ growth.

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Dramatic irony

The main instance of dramatic irony occurs at the point where Baroka accuses Sadiku as a “busy-body”, in the presence of Sidi. Baroka calls Sadiku a gossip, who talks carelessly around the village. And consequently, strangers will visit him in his bedroom. Sidi responds to this accusation by consoling Baroka not to mind any unhappiness created by Sadiku’s action. Yet, the audience, except Sidi, already knows that Baroka and Sadiku jointly planned the trick that leads Sidi to Baroka’s bedroom.


There are two important instances of flashback in this play.

One is how the people of llujinle evolved the dance called “the lost traveller”. From the way Lakunle and the four girls mime the dance, it makes a flashback that the photo journalist from Lagos was the traveller in question. And he was arrested and beaten up, when he first came to llujinle in his motor-car. He must have been treated so, for not first meeting with the Bale, before going about the village to take photographs.

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The second instance of flashback is where Lakunle gists Sidi of one of the reasons why Baroka is regarded as a cunny man. The gist is that a Railway line project was approved to pass through llujinle. But Baroka bungled it because the project would have benefited everybody, and not only him. Soyinka uses this flashback to illustrate the theme that: “African leaders oftenneglectetheirsubjects basic needs, for their selfish reasons”.


The occurence of high-burlesque is the emphasis on the placement of Baroka’s picture near the latrine, in the photo magazine by “the man from Lagos”. With the burlesque, the importance of Baroka the ruler of llujinle is reduced, while that of Sidi an ordinary citizen is raised. In other words, Sidi’s friends say that Sidi is more important than Baroka, to the outside world.


There is occurrence of innuendo at the point where Sidi makes a riddle that an old, miserly, polygamist and selfish man has proposed to marry her. After describing the man in her riddle as noted above, Sidi asks Baroka to advise her as a father, whether he can encourage her to marry the man. The point of innuendo is that Sidi is indirectly refering to Baroka himself.


Invective occurs twice in the play. One is Lakunle’s description of Sidi as “an illiterate stubborn goat”. Since Sidi is an illiterate, the description is a statement of direct abuse. The second occurrence is Sidi’s description of Lakunle as a immature fellow. This is when she describes Lakunle as “a beardless version of an unripened man”. An unripened man is a boy. And a boy is a beardless immature man.


Mime dances are staged thrice in the play. And each occasion contributes to the clarity of the play. The first is the mime on “the lost traveller” Through it, the reader is given a flashback to the suffering encountered by “the man from Lagos, on his first visit to llujinle. The second occasion is the mime dance of Lakunle’s description of the time prisoners started opening the site for llujinle Railway Project, before Baroka bungled it. The third mime is the mummers’ dance of a sexually impotent man in complementing the rumourthat Baroka has suddenly become impotent.


Parody occurs in Sadiku’s mis-pronunciation of the word “barbarian” as “bra…bra…ra…rian” in order to mock Lakunle, when Sidi has been tricked to go to Baroka’s bedroom. This parody shows that llujinle villagers have no regard for Lakunle.


The occurrence of symbolism is when Lakunle calls Baroka “a fox” as Sadiku is delivering Baroka’s message of invitaion to Sidi for supper. Sidi had replied that the message is Baroka’s trick to trap her to bed. In short, the symbolism is Lakunle’s description of Baroka is “a cunny character”

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Davidposh of Campusvibes

I'm a dedicated and progressive individual with an exceptional work ethic and client oriented service aptitude. I write to inform and educate. Currently I'm an English language students Lagos State University.

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