How does the cunning acts of Baroka trap Sidi in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel?
Baroka is the Village Head of Ilujinle and represented with the symbols of “lion” and “fox” in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel. He is referenced as the “lion” because of his physical prowess, sexual agility, predatory ability and his position as the Village Head. He is equally refered to as a “fox” because of his cunningness and wiliness. Putting all these attributes and characteristics into bear, he is able to manage a harem of wives and add more women.
By the end of “Morning”, it is obvious that Baroka has interest in Sidi. He reminds himself of the fact that it’s been months since he last took a wife. Sidi, having appeared in the glossy pages of a magazine, is the rave of the moment. It would serve his interest to marry Sidi.
He expresses his interest in Sidi through Sadiku, his eldest wife, as the tradition demands. Sidi however rejects the Baale’s proposal flatly. Sidi’s refusal injures Baroka’s pride. He lies to Sadiku about his recent issue of impotency. Sadiku swallows this lie hook, line and sinker, and conveys this to the villagers, Sidi in particular.
Sidi sees this as an opportunity to mock Baroka and decides to honour his invitation to the palace which she has earlier turned down. She meets Baroka wrestling with a man. She supports Baroka’s wrestler, throwing jibes of mockery, however subtle, to Baroka.
Baroka, after winning the wrestling bout, brings Sidi into a room where he sweet-talks Sidi into submission and eventually has his way with her, stripping her of her pride — her virginity. The unsuspecting Sidi is relaxed around Baroka all through till the deed is done, armed with the knowledge that Baroka is impotent.
With her virginity gone and having felt Baroka’s sexual and physical agility, Sidi has no option than to accept Baroka’s marriage proposal. His scheming and strength put together, Baroka has proven his worth as a real man.
Therefore, Baroka traps Sidi in a play written by him, enacted and directed by him. Both Sadiku and Sidi are lured into their assigned roles by Baroka’s deceit, convincing adroit acting, and maturity.