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By Henri Robben Character Analysis of the Characters in Novella "The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka

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Introduction

By Henri Robben Character Analysis of the Characters in Novella "The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka The three main characters in 'The Lion and the Jewel' are called Sidi, Lakunle and Baroka the Bale. Each character has different thoughts about one another and each views the society in a different way. This essay introduces and describes each character and analyses their role in the play. Sidi Sidi is the first character that the audience meets. She is a very attractive woman, known as the village 'belle'. Her attractiveness influences her personality, by making her quite vain. An example of her vanity is when she receives photos through of her that featured in a global magazine, taken by a western man. The photographs, also affect Sidi's perception of Baroka, by making her believe that she is a better person, judging by the picture size difference in the magazine. Sidi is heavily influenced by tradition, which is outlined more than once throughout the play. The opening scene shows how Lakunle offers to carry Sidi's load. Sidi refuses, because it is traditionally the woman that carries the load and if other people saw, then Sidi is afraid that people may start to shun or mock her. ...read more.

Middle

Lakunle is a schoolteacher in the village, which is already a sign that his western ideas are slowly trying to creep them into the village, by educating his students in a way that a westerner would. His ideas are quite opposite to those of Sidi. Lakunle is more into change whereas Sidi is more conservative and tends to stick to tradition. To show Lakunle's western ideas, he mentions 'breakable plates', which probably had been mentioned before in the village. Also when Lakunle proposes to Sidi, he is quoting words he has read in popular English books about marriage, which shows that the language that he speaks, comes from books and is not what he really wants to express to Sidi. This shows that he is an outsider and not able to communicate properly with Sidi and fit in with their society. Lakunle does warm kindly to Baroka and fears him. His fear is expressed towards the end of the dance where Baroka enters in character, however Lakunle mistakes him for acting seriously. Lakunle also realises, that Baroka will also be after the village 'belle' and therefore he has some competition to contend with. ...read more.

Conclusion

He seeks younger wives all the time but keeps his first wife by his side until a new wife is found to replace her. He is not shy around women and thinks that they are below him and that he can manipulate them in any way (this is true in Sidi's case). Baroka is an intelligent man and can use his words to fool people. Much like the railway track story and Sidi's case. Baroka uses more words/ psychological flirting moves, rather than active moves. In the play Sidi comes to Baroka because of the news given to her by Sadiku, note that Baroka does not physically seduce her. He is able to analyse Sidi and her thoughts and then produce an effective seducing tactic. These 3 characters all have similarities and differences. Once we find out these differences, it is easier to see why the characters react in the way that they do. We are able to see why Lakunle is an outsider, why Sidi does not like one aspect of Lakunle, and how the Bale finally seduces Sidi. The Lion gets the Jewel and the outsider is left standing there watching for other women ready to go for the bait. ...read more.

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