In this post, we will be looking at the Character Analysis of Sidi in The Lion and The Jewel, the role and function of Sidi in The Lion and The Jewel, and also answer the most asked questions about Sidi:
How is Sidi presented in Lion and the Jewel?
Why is Sidi called the jewel?
Sidi is one of the main characters of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel. She is the heroine who is the protagonist of the show. Contrary to Lakunle, who’s a character that is fixed, Sidi is dynamic in the sense that she was subject to changes throughout the play.
Who is Sidi in The Lion and the Jewel?
Sidi has been described as the village belle. She has a stunning beauty that draws a large part of the male world (Lakunle, Baroka and the Stranger) to her. At the beginning of the play, Sidi is shown with a pot of water on her head as she returns from the stream. Sidi is being questioned by Lakunle the teacher from the village who, we learned, is making advances toward her. She fights back against Lakunle’s bizarre ways of thinking and behaviour, all in the context that it’s “modernism”.
In the beginning, she’s eager to get married Lakunle but only if he agrees to be willing to pay her wedding cost. However, Lakunle insists that he will not be able to pay the bride’s price. Thus, Sidi withholds her willingness and declines to marry Lakunle.
Sidi is a bit self-conscious after the publication of the magazine, which showcases her beautiful features with glossy pictures. Her self-esteem is so high and she begins to believe that she is above Lakunle (a normal village instructor) or Baroka (whose adorable photo is displayed side-by-side with the village’s latrine) in terms of social significance. The pictures of her have reached Lagos. Therefore, she is more important than any other person in Lagos.
Baroka expressed his desire for her via Sadiku but she rejects Baroka’s marriage plan. Baroka then tricks Sadiku and Sidi to believe that he was now impotent. Sidi takes Baroka’s bait and, in the end, she is thrown into Baroka’s bed, where the elder man uses his slyness and love for words to snuff out her pride, her virginity.
She is crying and then runs back in search of Lakunle as well as Sadiku. The duo is blown away by the incident. After Lakunle learned of the incident to Sidi his affection for Sidi decreases. He decides to take her as she is since her virginity loss will be a way to save him from the cost of a bride regardless. Sidi however, thinks differently. She plans to get married to Baroka. She has experienced the strength of an old man and is not willing to submit herself to the shame of a shrimp that has been fed by books, like Lakunle. She took Lakunle as a complete surprise after she has gotten rid of Lakunle’s glossy publication and made public her decision to get married to Baroka.
Lakunle contests her decision, and during the drama that ensued, Sidi pushes Lakunle off and scolds Lakunle in her savage contrast between Lakunle and Baroka where she portrays Lakunle as weaker.
In the final scene of the play, Sadiku is the one to bring Sidi into Baroka’s home. Sidi’s rescinding of the glossy magazine symbolizes her departure from her vain contemporary life.
A Comparison of Baroka as well as Lakunle From Sidi’s Perspective
SIDI: [turns round in surprise.]
Marry who . . .? You thought . . .
Did you really think that you, and I . . .
Why, did you think that after him,
I could endure the touch of another man?
I who have felt the strength,
The perpetual youthful zest
Of the panther of the trees?
And would I choose a watered-down,
A beardless version of unripened man?
SIDI: [gives him a shove that sits him down again, hard against the tree base.] Out of my
way, book-nourished shrimp.
Do you see what strength he has given me?
That was not bad. For a man of sixty,
It was the secret of God’s own draught
A deed for drums and ballads.
But you, at sixty, you’ll be ten years dead!
In fact, you’ll not survive your honeymoon . . .
Come to my wedding if you will. If not . . .
The first quote is Sidi’s response to Lakunle’s marriage joke. The second is her reaction after Lakunle was thrown down after she shoved him.
Based on the above we can come to an answer: Baroka can be described as ” the panther of the forest with the perpetual zest of youth” and Lakunle has been described as ” a watered-down, beardless version of unripened man“. Baroka can be described as “the secret of God’s own draught”, “a deed for drums and ballads” and Lakunle may be described as “book-nourished shrimp”. The descriptions clearly depict Baroka to be a man who has the energy and enthusiasm of a young man despite his age, and Lakunle lacks Baroka’s power. Sidi decides to choose Baroka’s strength and touch over Lakunle’s bookish and knowledgeable thoughts.
The Role of Sidi in The Lion and The Jewel
First of all, Sidi is the symbolic ” jewel” in the title of the play, and there are many instances throughout the play in which she calls herself or is referred to as the”jewel” because of her stunning beauty. Sidi is the centre of the attention of the play, and every event within the play revolves around her. From Lakunle’s attempts to woo her as well as the entry of the stranger to the community, the magazine article, Baroka’s tricks and her losing her virginity and her entry into the Baroka household.
Sidi is the cause of conflict between Baroka and Lakunle. Every man is looking for Sidi to become his. Sidi can also describe herself as being a mix of tradition and modernity. She is the product of Lakunle’s lofty beliefs as well as the traditions of the village. But, she doesn’t accept Lakunle’s views in all their facets. She is also aware of the rules of African customs. Another reason is to insist on the bride’s proudness as Lakunle continued to make amorous flirtations.
She is an excellent organizer. This is evident from the way she stage-managed the recount of the stranger’s entry to the town. Readers are also responsible for her insight into the characters that are Lakunle and Baroka. The majority of the information we have about the two characters comes to result from Sidi’s conversations with them. Lakunle’s insanity and Baroka’s shrew are displayed through the way she speaks and moves during her encounter(s) that each of them.