The Lion and the Jewel Themes & Motifs

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Lion and the Jewel.
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Progress versus Tradition

The central theme of the play is progress versus tradition which is explored through the dueling perspectives of schoolteacher Lakunle and village chief Baroka, as they vie for Sidi’s hand in marriage. Lakunle is the representative for the side of progress. He believes that the traditional beliefs and behaviors of the people in the village of Ilujinle are old-fashioned and harmful. In the opening scene, he refers to the other residents of the village as a “race of savages” (3) and proclaims: “For now, it is this village I shall turn / Inside out” (5). It is Lakunle’s expressed desire to drag Ilujinle into the 20th Century despite Sidi’s complaint that he should “Go to these places where / Women would understand you / If you told them of your plans with which you oppress me daily” (5) rather than staying in Ilujinle. It is never made...

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This section contains 2,705 words
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Buy The Lion and the Jewel Study Guide
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