Settings of The Lion and the Jewel and the storyline will be discussed in this post.
What is the story of the Lion and the Jewel?
The story-line of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel is a satire. It is a comic satire. Its story-line dramatises how the various classes of African citizens are ruining the courses of Africa’s development. The concerned classes of Africans and how they perpetrate Africa’s ruin will be duly highlighted and illustrated, effectively, in due course.
Physical Settings of the Lion and the Jewel
Physically, Wole Soyinka set The Lion And The Jewel in a Yoruba village called Ilujinle.
- The village was close to big cities and towns like Lagos, Ibadan, Badagary…
- The play was set in the early 20th century, when Europeans were building Railway tracks and stations in the interior parts of the colony of Nigeria, to transport farm produce to the sea-port, in Lagos.
- Ilujinle was a small village with one small village-school, which had just one teacher.
- At the time of the play’s setting modern means of transport like the motor car and the motor-cycle had just been seen once, at llujinle.
- Despite, the people of llujinle still regarded the motor-cycle as an iron-horse.
- That time too, they had not known about the camera for taking photographs, until the stranger from “outside world” came to snap Sidi’s pictures, possibly for nfodelling.
- To the people of llujinle, their village was the only place under the sun (i.e. inside world).
- llujinle village had no roads, but foot-paths.
- Most of the foot-paths linked up to the village centre, under the big odan tree.
- The village school was built at the village centre. The place was also the spot for Ilujinle night market.
- So, the village centre under the big odan tree served as business, romance and gossip centre. It was also the public entertainment venue.
Remember that Lakunle and Sidi always talked about their love there. It was there that Sadiku came to gossip to Sidi that Baroka’s manhood had become impotent. Also, it was there that Sidi started her wedding procession to Baroka’s Palace.
Social Settings of the lion and the Jewel
- Socially, llujinle was a place practising well-defined culture, even though it was a small village.
- For instance, a man must undertake introduction in order to marry a girl, at llujinle village.
- This is what Lakunle described as the asking, in the “Night Part” of the play.
- Also, a man must undertake engagement. This is what Sidi called: pay bride-price on my head throughout all her corner talks with Lakunle.
- A matured girl for marriage must be a virgin.
- This is the reason seriously emphasised by Sidi to Lakunle that people will regard her as a disvirgined girl, if she agrees to marry Lakunle without bride-price.
- The parents of the bride always pay marriage dowry(i.e. the first belongings which a bride takes to her husband’s house) to the family of their daughter’s husband, under the marriage customs practised at llujinle.
Sidi pointed this out while talking to Baroka to advise her. She had asked the question that if Baroka were her father, would he pay dowry to a greedy old man that proposed marriage to her.
- Also, a new Bale of llujinle must inherit the last wife of the dead Bale as his first wife.
- Beside marriage culture, the people of llujinle practised the custom of showing respect for the elderly.
- The people of llujinle were farmers and traders. For instance, they had a night market for transacting business.
- The people of llujinle lived under hygienic environment. The village had public latrines.
Remember, the picture of Baroka appeared close to the latrine in the photo magazine presented to Sidi and Baroka by “the stranger from the outside world”.
- Socially too, the people of llujinle were recreational.
Remember that Baroka often engages in wrestling bouts in order to recreate himself.
- The people of llujinle were communal in nature.
A buttress to this is how they largely turn out to join Sidi’s wedding procession to Bale Baroka’s palace.
- The people of llujinle were ruled authoritatively by their Bale.
A buttress to this is the double-standard marriage law in practice at Ilujinle. For instance, an ordinary man cannot marry without paying the bride-price. But the Bale can seize a virgined girl and make her a concubine, at will.