In this article, we will be discussing the Plot Summary of The Lion And The Jewel By Wole Soyinka.
The play starts when Sidi is one of the town’s belles, Ilujinle arrives in the square carrying an empty water jug over her head. Lakunle is a teacher from the west who is shocked to see her, flees out of his classroom and grabs Sidi’s water pail. He scolds her for carrying a load on her head, and not wearing modest clothes and then tells him that the community is calling him mad.
Sidi is furious when Lakunle says that women are less smart than men due to their tiny brains. He claims that in the near future, the village will be equipped with machines to perform the work for them. He describes the splendour of Lagos as an extremely modern city. Lakunle refuses to hand Sidi her water pail back until she’s willing to marry him. He gives a variety of romantic lines that express his deep affection for his.
Sidi says she would marry him at any time provided he pays the cost of the wedding. Lakunle finds this to be a barbaric act and declines. He holds Sidi and promises her how great their new marriage will be. After he kisses her, Sidi is a bit irritated. Although Lakunle claims that he is in love with Sidi and believes that kissing should be a normal thing for the modern couple, Sidi says that kissing her is merely a means to get away from paying for the bride’s price. Sidi makes Lakunle crazy.
The young people arrive in the square and inform Sidi she’s been told that an unknown person came back to their village carrying a publication filled with images. Sidi eagerly inquires if the stranger has made Sidi look as gorgeous as he claimed he would and the girls inform him that they did.
They claim that Baroka Bale, the village’s Bale is still gazing at the pictures and is unhappy with Sidi even though he claims to admire Sidi’s beauty. Another girl states that Baroka is in the magazine too however his picture is small and is placed in front of the toilets. When she hears the news, Sidi declares that she’s stronger than Baroka and doesn’t have a reason to get married to Lakunle.
Sidi suggests that they perform to the tune of the “lost traveller.” She assigns roles to villagers and asks Lakunle to take on the role of the stranger. Despite his initial refusal to join in, Lakunle throws himself fully into the show.
The other villagers are dancing while Lakunle is imitating driving a vehicle while drunk, wandering through the forest, and finally finding Sidi at the bottom of the river. Then, Baroka joins the dance and the dance ceases as the people kneel and bow to Baroka. Lakunle attempts to go away however, Baroka insists that he remain and the dance goes on. Baroka tells his guests to capture Lakunle or the stranger and then accepts the stranger’s pity and prepares a meal to honor him.
The stranger takes pictures of the village and is fascinated with Sidi as she dances. The performance concludes when the person who is drunk vomits. Sidi and the other villagers chase Lakunle toward the person who is actually the person to translate for them. Baroka declares that he hasn’t gotten an unmarried wife for five months.
The next morning, Sidi and Lakunle walk along the road. Lakunle holds a bundle of firewood while Sidi is in awe of the pictures of herself that appear within the publication. The first wife of Baroka, Sadiku has a moment of shock for Sidi. Sadiku informs Sidi that Baroka would like to get married to her, which angers Lakunle.
He warns Sidi not to believe him, however, Sidi asserts she is extremely powerful after the stranger presented her pictures to the community. Sadiku insists that If Sidi gets married to Baroka She’ll be extremely powerful. When Baroka passes away, she’ll be the head wife of the family. Sidi does not agree and states that Baroka is only looking to enjoy her beauty to keep the beauty for himself. Sidi is able to open the issue, shows the pictures to Sadiku, and laments the fact that no one ever said anything to praise Sidi about her breasts.
Sidi calls Baroka leathery and old. Sadiku is stunned however she invites Sidi to join Baroka to eat a meal. Sidi smiles and says that women who go to the dinners are married or concubines the next day. Lakunle joins in the discussion and says that Baroka is known as “the fox” for a reason. He explains the way Baroka paid the foreman to divert an abandoned railway from Ilujinle which deprived Ilujinle of the capacity to modernize. He loses himself in thoughts and thinks about how great Baroka’s lifestyle of luxury and numerous wives must have been. Sidi and Sadiku disappear.
In Baroka’s bedroom, his preferred wife is the one who plucks his hair out of his armpit. He informs his wife that he’s planning to get an upcoming wife and she snatches the hair with a harsh force. Sadiku is in the bedroom when Baroka has to send his beloved away.
Sadiku informs her husband that Sidi declined his marriage proposal due to his age. In a furious mood, Baroka lists his achievements over the last week. He lays down, asks Sadiku for a rub, and takes out a copy of the magazine. He suggests that it could be a good idea because his manhood stopped performing the week before. Sadiku is crying and Baroka informs her that she should not tell this information to anyone else.
In the evening Sidi is still admiring the photographs in the village square. Sadiku walks into the square, grabs the carved image of Baroka and then smiles. She starts chanting “take warning my masters/we’ll scotch you in the end” and dances around the figure. Sidi stunned, and awed, walks up to Sadiku, who demands to know the truth about what’s transpiring. Sadiku swore Sidi to keep her secret and whispered to her.
Sidi is overjoyed and participates in dancing. Lakunle arrives in the square and observes the women for a few seconds before dismissing them as crazy. Sidi abruptly breaks her silence and declares she wants to insult Baroka. She decides to confront Baroka, beg forgiveness and wreak havoc on Baroka. Sadiku offers her a blessing, and Sidi disappears.
Lakunle says the woman is foolish. Sadiku says to Lakunle that he’s not attractive and informs him that he’s able to get married to Sidi shortly if he could pay the cost of the wedding. When Sadiku smiles at Lakunle’s desire to modernize his village, he demands that she go to school with his children to learn how to be a better person than merely collecting brides in Baroka.
When Sidi gets to Baroka’s residence, Baroka is seen wrestling with his wrestler. Baroka is irritated that no one was present to meet Sidi and make her stay out of his bedroom. He states that his staff members take Sunday off since they’ve formed a union. Sidi is hesitant and asks Baroka to forgive her rash response.
He pretends not to know the subject and catches Sidi off her guard. Sidi seeks out Baroka’s preferred wife and inquires if she is unhappy with her husband. Baroka says he doesn’t have the time to contemplate his wife’s motives for her discontent and this frightens Sidi. Baroka requests Sidi to relax and not let him feel old.
Sidi claims that the wrestler will prevail. Baroka says how wrestling must win because Baroka only takes on men who challenge him. He transforms wrestlers after he has learned ways to take them down. In the same way, he gets new wives as he learns how to wear out the old ones. Sidi says to Baroka that she received an offer to marry her the day before and she asked Baroka if she would like to let her marry him as if he were her father.
Sidi describes Baroka and replies to his questions about her fiance in a manner that is sure to be offensive to Baroka. Baroka takes his wrestling partner away and Sidi rejoices at Baroka’s victory. The two begin arm wrestling, and Baroka returns to his routine of asking about Sidi’s love interest. Sidi ridicules Baroka’s virtue. Baroka wins again and then sends his wrestler off. He sits with Sidi and sighs at how old the man is becoming. He asks if he came up with a story for Sidi and claims that Sadiku is always looking for new women to marry.
Baroka opens the magazine, along with an envelope addressed to him. Baroka asks Sidi to tell her which stamp is. Sidi is sure to say it’s a tax for “talking with paper.” Baroka moves to the machine in his bedroom and says he’d like to use it to create stamps for Ilujinle featuring Sidi’s image on them.
Sidi gets lost in this dream and Baroka says that while he doesn’t dislike progress, it’s the similarity that it creates. He informs Sidi that both of them are very similar, and they work perfectly. Sidi is unsure if she’s stupid as Lakunle declares she is But Baroka insists that she’s just being honest. He insists that the past and the new should be one as Sidi’s head rests on his shoulder.
In the market that night, Lakunle and Sadiku wait for Sidi to come back. A group of mummers walks by the two and Sadiku claims that they’ve heard of Baroka. She takes cash from the pockets of Lakunle and then pays the mummers. They perform the story of the downfall of Baroka and Baroka is presented as a comical character. Sadiku herself dances in the last “scotching” of Baroka.
Sidi goes to the marketplace crying. Sadiku and Lakunle are trying to console her, but she’s not going to let them in. She claims that Baroka has tricked them, and she’s no more an unmarried woman. Lakunle gets angry for a while and then says that he still wants to get married to Sidi and is no longer able to cover the cost of the wedding. Sidi disappears. Lakunle dispatches Sadiku after Sidi to inquire about the reason for her disappearance. Sadiku comes back and says Sidi is dressed as the bride. Lakunle is insistent that he cannot be married in a hurry.
Dancers, as well as Sidi, are back in the square. Sidi is stunning. She presents Lakunle with an issue of the publication and asks for his attendance at the wedding. Lakunle insists that he has to be invited since he’s the bride.
Sidi smiles and says that she’ll never get married to him after having experienced Baroka. She requests that the musicians play music as she walks towards Baroka’s home and dances begin. A young girl dances provocatively at Lakunle, and he chases her.