Wole Soyinka’s play title, The Lion and the Jewel, has a tremendous relation to the content of the play. The title suggests two objects in a conjunctive relationship.
The first object, “the Lion”, is used as a symbol for Baroka. A lion is often called the king of the jungle. Baroka, in this case, is the Village Head of Ilujinle and just like the lion, he is of royalty.
Baroka is referred to as “the Lion” because lions are vibrant. They are go-getters. Baroka wants Sidi to be his latest addition to his harem and so gets her through deceit.
Besides, a lion is characterised by its strength. Baroka, in same manner, does not lack manly strength and his sexual prowess is pretty much amazing for a man of his age.
The other object, “the Jewel”, symbolises Sidi. A jewel is a precious or valuable item often used for personal ornamentation. It is much valuable anyone would love to have it. Sidi is very beautiful. In fact, she is the village belle. She is depicted as “the Jewel” on the account of her unmatched beauty. She is so beautiful that just like jewels are desired by everyone, she is admired by every man — villager and stranger alike. Hers is mesmerising beauty.
Baroka, throughout the play, is addressed as “the Lion” — by Sidi and Sadiku. Sidi borrows the word “jewel” from Lakunle and would later take the title for herself while relishing its aptness.
Therefore, the title is suggestive of two of the play’s main characters and their individual features, and of the wily lion’s subtle conquest of the jewel as a lion would a prey. The title no doubt resonates with inner struggle in the play.