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Lion and the Jewel - Essay Example

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Summary
In 1986, Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for his achievements in literature. In most of his works, Soyinka has focused on society, tradition, culture and modernism, fusing these with the politics around…
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Lion and the Jewel

Download file to see previous pages... First, the play illustrates how African culture and western civilization differ when it comes to marriage and family life. In particular, Soyinka’s play shows how the two differ on matters of child bearing. In the play, Sidi represents the traditional African culture while Lakunle represents the western civilization. Lakunle does not view child bearing as an important aspect of marriage. In his words, he says that he is not after a wife “To bring forth children by the gross….” (Soyinka, 9). Sidi reacts to this by saying to him: “Heaven forgive you!” (Soyinka, 9). Clearly, Soyinka shows that African and western cultures have differing views on child bearing.
Secondly, the issue of bride price and its role is another area where the two clash. In the play, Sidi insists that Lakunle pays her bride price before marrying her. Failure to do this will make her a laughing stock. She tells him that she will marry him “But my bride-price must first be paid…” (Soyinka, 8). On the contrary, Lakunle, who embraces the western cultures, argues that paying bride price is an old custom, and terms it as “a savage custom, barbaric, out-dated ” (Soyinka, 8). Lakunle is of the view that bride price is a humiliation to women and this amounts to buying women like commodities. Lakunle is thus left to choose between a traditional marriage where pride price is paid and a civilized one.
Thirdly, Soyinka shows how the African society embraced polygamy, unlike the western culture where monogamy was the order of the day. In the play, Baroka, the king of Ilujinle, has many wives. Sadiku, the eldest wife, is in fact comfortable Baroka bringing in another wife. She woos Sidi to get married to Baroka, promising her that Baroka will not take another wife after her. Soyinka shows that unlike western cultures, polygamy is accepted in the African culture and is even supported by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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