Tradition vs. Modernity
The Lion and the Jewel was written and first performed the year before Nigeria was granted its independence from Great Britain, and the script was published two years after independence. As such, one of the primary conflicts of the play pits traditional Yoruba customs against a western conception of progress and modernity, as represented by the conflict between Baroka and Lakunle for Sidi's hand in marriage.
Lakunle represents the modern Nigerian man. He wears…read analysis of Tradition vs. Modernity
Men vs. Women
The Lion and the Jewel focuses on the competition to win Sidi's hand in marriage, which makes the play, in a sense, a battle of the sexes. As such, the play asks a number of questions about the nature of each sex's power: why men or women are powerful; how they became powerful in the first place; and how they either maintain or lose that power.
The men who fight for Sidi see her…read analysis of Men vs. Women
Language, Words, and Trickery
The Lion and the Jewel is filled with instances of trickery, particularly surrounding language. Language is the tool by which characters fool one another, create false impressions of superiority, and convince others to support their goals. Thus, language is shown to be a source of power. However, the play ultimately suggests that language is most powerful when used without lies or misdirection, and when it is applied in service of concrete, achievable goals.
Lakunle delights…read analysis of Language, Words, and Trickery