Themes in the Lion and the Jewel and the subject matter of the play will be discussed in this post
Subject Matter and Themes in The Lion and the Jewel
Wole Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel is a socio-political commentary The play describes how the early educated Africans attempted to eradicate vital African cultural elements, while planning Africa’s development. Also it comments on how wrong the early educated Africans were, in considering the views of in educated Africans as unimportant, towards Africa’s development plan. Finally, the play comments on some vices common with African leaders, which cannot enhance Africa’s development. The Lion And The Jewel has a subject matter of satire.
Analysis of Themes in The Lion and the Jewel
The themes in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel will be outlined and illustrated in the following order:
A. Themes of social change
Important cultural heritage should be preserved during a social change
“This theme is illustrated in the way Lakunle does not succeed to marry Sidi without marriage bride-price. Marriage bride price is an important African cultural heritage. So, it is good for preservation, as it does not make the wife a bought-slave, to the husband”.
Theme of Workable social changes is best achieved by mutual agreement by all interests
“The theme can be illustrated in the way Lakunle does not get followership for all his fantastic projects of social change. Though he means well, but he does not carry along the people for whom the social changes will benefit”.
Theme of Youthful exuberance is not enough to effect a realistic social change
“This theme can be illustrated with Lakunle’s low integrity. He is too feeble-minded and tactless. If he is a mature and experienced fellow, he would have prevented Sidi from going to Baroka’s house”.
B. Themes of vices against Africa’s growth
Theme of Double standard laws do not encourage growth
“This theme can be illustrated with the marriage law of llujinle Village. A virgin must not marry an ordinary citizen, without a bride-price payment to her parents. But the village ruler can trap such a virgin to bed and later keep her as a concubine”.
RECOMMENDED: The Lion and the Jewel Summary by Wole Soyinka
Theme of Corruption aiding and abetting always retard growth
“This theme can be illustrated with Sadiku’s act of sadism. She takes joy in trapping young virgins to Baroka’s bed, at intervals of five months simply because she had once fallen a victim. So, the virgins of llujinle always end up as neglected concubines of Baroka, instead of being virile wives to growing young men”
Theme of Pride is a ready-made path to destruction
“This theme can be illustrated with Sidi’s feeble mindedness. She is always proud of her beauty. And such pride makes her to fall into the trick of Baroka and Sadiku, with which she is trapped into Baroka’s bed. And she loses her virginity in the process and get the shame of being an old man’s concubine, instead of having a fine marriage, to a youthful blood like hers.
Theme of Self-centredleaders always suppress their subjects’ growth
This theme can be illustrated with Baroka’s character: He is too selfish and egocentric. He bungled the Railway project for llujinle, because the project will benefit all his subjects, and not him only.