African DramaArt and Literature

The Lion and The Jewel Questions and Answers

The Lion and The Jewel Questions and Answers

1. What are the various marriage customs in Practice at llujinle, according to The Lion And The Jewel by Wole Soyinka?


Marriage customs are major cultural heritage discussed in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel. In this regard, the various marriage customs practised in llujinle are illustrat. Remember, llujinle Village is the setting of the play.

Firstly, a girl must be a virgin to qualify to be married well. If she is not a virgin, people will always treat such a girl as an immodest girl. Consequently, she will be a shame to her parents.

Two, a man that wants to marry a virgin for a wife must be ready to pay marriage bride-price to the girl’s parents. In other words, a girl is considered to have married well, when bride-price is paid on her head, to her parents. Any girl that agrees to marry without bride-price is commonly considered as an immodest girl who has lustfully lost her virginity. This is the point Sidi tries to make Lakunle realised, but which Lakunle is regarding as barbaric.

When a young man and a virgin girl agrees to marry, there must be introduction. This is what Lakunle calls “there is the asking to be done”, while Sadiku teases him that Sidi is preparing herself for marriage. And Lakunle in turn, says Sidi should have been more patient for a day or two. It even turns out that Sidi is preparing for a marriage to Baroka.

Another custom is the fact that a young man that wants to marry must host friends and well-wishers in entertainment. This is what Lakunle means when he says “l have to prepare for the ceremonies that go with marriage”.

There is the custom of dowry payment by the parents of the girl to the man to marry their daughter. Sidi points this out, while using an innuendo to tell Baroka that he is old to be her father. Here, Sidi has put a riddle to Baroka that she wants his advice that if he were her father, would he agree to pay a dowry to an old man, who already has many wives, but wants to marry her, in addition.

Furthermore, there is the custom of bride commandering at llujinle. For example, Baroka does not go for any asking parents. Neither, does he pay any bride-price on Sidi’s head, to her pare*ts. Yet, Sidi eventually marries Baroka, at the end of the play.

Finally, there is the custom of wife inheritance in practice at llujinle. Sadiku the oldest wife of Baroka is an inherited wife. She was the last favourite wife of Okiki – the father of Baroka. So, Baroka inherited her when he became the Bale of llujinle, upon his father’s death.

The above enumerated marriage customs are practised at llujinle.

How effectively does Soyinka use mime, flashback, innuendo and parody to aid your understanding of The Lion And The Jewel?


Mime, flashback, innuendo and parody are examples of the devices used by Soyinka in The Lion And The Jewel. I shall enumerate them in the following order.

Mime dances are staged thrice in the play.The first time is the dance of the lost is staged during the second visit of the man from Lagos. Sidi makes some four girls and Lakunle to stage this dance.The dance is about the man from Lagos during his first time journey to llujinle . He had come in a car.Through the mime, there is indication that it was the first time llujinle villagers wåuld see a car. So, this is why the journey is turned into an entertainment subject.

Towards the end of the mime, an important flashback is illustrated. Here, Lakunle who acts the part of a car owner, driver and photo journalist is accused and maltreated. He is accused as a rapist, who wants to steal the maiden-head of the jewel of llujinle Village. In the mime, the journalist is taking photographs. Suddenly, there is a loud cry from the bush. So, he follows the direction. He comes across the girl who is screaming. He must have found the girl naked. As he attempts to take her photograph, some men show up and arrest him. The mime dance of “the lost traveller” is therefore a flashback which enable us to know the suffering encountered by the Lagos photp journalist during his first journey to llujinle.

There is another flashback by Lakunle. He makes this while demonstrating one of the reasons why Baroka is described as a fox (i.e. a cunning man). He reveals to Sidi, in the presence of Sadiku that Baroka bungled the Railway Project approved for llujinle. And Lakunle claims that Baroka acted so because the project would have benefited everybody and not Baroka alone. To support his point, a mime dance of the prisoners who cleared the site of the project was staged. Also in a dance form, how bribes of money, goats and cocks were given to the Surveyor in charge of the project was staged. It is from this flashback and mime, that I understand that Baroka is an egocentric character

A beautiful piece of innuendo is illustrated through Sidi. This is when she makes a riddle to ask the question that if Baroka were her father, would he pay a dowry to a man old enough to be her father and already has many wives•, for him to marry her. This description is an innuendo because Baroka himself is the person whom Sidi is describing. This innuendo makes me to understand that Sidi would not have willingly married Baroka, if she is not been trapped, through Sadiku’s tricks.

The case of parody is demonstrated by Sadiku. This is where he calls Lakunle a bra…bra…ra…rian. She had meant “barbarian”. Lakunle is fond of referring to the people of llujinle as barbarians. From the parody, I understand that the people of llujinle have not for once taken Lakunle as a serious person.

Practice Exercise

1 . Does Baroka act like a fox and a lion at all, in Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel?

Is Sidi a victim of helplessness, or personal flaw, according to Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel?

How does Soyinka present Teacher Lakunle as an exuberant youth in

The Lion And The Jewel?

Enumerate the themes in Soyinka’s The Lion And The Jewel.

Enumerate the number of tricks used by both Sadiku and Baroka to trap Sidi for Baroka’s bed.

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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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