The Lion And The Jewel Characters

The Lion And The Jewel Characters

This is a summary of the characters in The Lion and The Jewel.

Characters in The Lion and The Jewel


She’s the young beautiful woman in the village of Ilunjinle whose beauty radiates the village, placing her in-between Lakunle’s and Baroka’s covet. She is intelligent and has a penchant for modernity but not at the expense of her static Yoruba tradition. Unlike the schoolmaster, Lakunle, Sidi doesn’t place modernity over her tradition. She initially agreed to marry Lakunle, although grudgingly because he is better than the old Baroka, but reviles him for refusing to pay her bride price, which Lakunle sees as a primitive tradition.

When the Stranger – a photographer based in Lagos, returned with photos of her published in a magazine, her pride worsened. Seeing the adorable images on the magazine’s cover made her feel superior to everyone else in the village. She began to feel no one in the village deserved her, not even the self-acclaimed modernist and schoolteacher, Lakunle.

The novel referred to her as the “Jewel ” of Ilunjinle. Sidi colludes with Sadiatu to bring Baroka to his knees. She went to his home against the advice of Sadiatu and Lakunle to play a game of wit with him and shame him for his impotence. However, Baroka tricked Sadiatu, his first wife, against Sidi. Baroka lied to Sadiatu about him being impotent and asserted that Sidi had made the best choice of rejecting him because aging has diminished his virility, knowing well that Sadiatu can’t keep a secret. Sadiatu revealed this secret to Sidi, making Sidi honor Baroka’s invitation, which she rejected earlier due to her fear of Baroka exploiting her sexually. Baroka raped Sidi; with her virginity gone, she decided to marry him.


He is the young 23-year-old schoolmaster who had a strong liking for modernity and was in love with Sidi. Lakunle is intelligent, but the novel portrays him as a clueless and idiotic man who wishes to rid of his tradition for modernization. He solicited Sidi for marriage, whom he tried to bully into dumping the traditional lifestyle he subscribes to. At the same time he woos Sidi, he chastises her strong attachment to tradition. He regularly asserted that men are superior to women and that women have smaller brains than their male counterparts. As a result, women were unable to grasp his point of view.

Lakunle was jealous of Baroka, who also wooed Sidi for marriage. He christened Baroka “fox” for his trick and warned Sidi several times not to go near Baroka to avoid falling for his trickery. However, Sidi went against Lakunle’s advice and consequently became a victim of Barok’s vicious ruse. For this reason, she decided to marry Baroka.


62-year-old Baroka is the Bale of Ilunjinle. The novel introduced him as the leader of Ilunjinle, who married a new wife after every five months. So, when the stranger – photographer returned to Ilunjinle with a magazine containing several photos of Sidi and one of he’s, he was reminded that he had not married a new wife for the last five months. Therefore, he strongly coveted marrying the beautiful Sidi. 

Baroka is depicted as the tricky one in the novel as he frequently used his tricks to his advantage. Lakunle dubbed him “Fox” for his mastery of tricks, and Sadiatu called him “Lion” for his strength.

He strongly disliked modernism as he feared it would erase his people’s traditional ways of life. Consequently, he used his power to block modernism from making inroads into his village.

He broke down due to Sidi’s perception of him, so he hired a man with more vigor to wrestle with him indoors to keep fit. In the novel, Baroka symbolizes tradition, wisdom, masculinity, and wealth.

Since the first time he saw Sidi’s pictures in the magazine, his mind hasn’t been at rest. He wished to marry Sidi. However, Sidi preferred the self-acclaimed progressive-thinker, Lakunle, over him because of his old age. Baroka’s trick prowess manifested when he exploited Sadiatu’s inability to keep secrets to penetrate Sidi’s defense. Sidi couldn’t have honored his invitation without learning from Sadiatu that Baroka is impotent.


Read Also:


Summary of The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar Jalli

Summary of the Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka



She was Baroka’s first wife and match broker. Sadiatu occupied a respectable position in Baroka’s home. Despite this, she still colluded with Sidi to destroy Baroka. Sadiatu hated the enormous power her husband wielded; she wished to deprive him of that power by colluding with Sidi. However, Baroka tricked her with a lie, saying he was impotent, and warned her not to reveal his weakness to anyone. Sadiatu rejoiced for women’s victory over men as she spread Baroka’s secret without knowing it was just a ploy to woo Sidi. Sadiatu was shocked to see Sidi throw herself down from Baroka’s house in sobber lament about being raped by a man who told her that he was impotent.


The novel doesn’t pay much attention to the Stranger. The Stranger only appeared in the scene, took pictures of Sidi, and published them in a magazine. He returned with the collection of photos in the magazine. Sidi was happy to have seen herself in the magazine; she became proud as her beautiful photos had traveled outside Ilunjinle.


She’s the youngest and present of Baroka’s wife. She’s Baroka’s favorite wife who gets jealous after learning Baroka is about to marry another wife while yanking hair from his armpit. Out of jealousy, she pulls the hair harshly, injuring Baroka, and prompting Baroka to send her away from his room.


This covers the names and features of the characters in The Lion and The Jewel.



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