Q & A: Examine the encounter between Lakunle and Sidi in the morning

Whether the man is civilised or old-fashioned, there may be, the play suggests, a way in which he desires the woman for some trenchant ideology of a weakling.

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Examine the encounter between Lakunle and Sidi in the morning.

The encounter between Lakunle and Sidi in the morning is pivotal to a dominant theme in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel . The meeting informs the reader of the folly around which the author’s comic criticism of the society revolves. It is a strong point of the misunderstanding that sets the play to the disposition of the major characters as navigating the conflict of their ideals and how this is wittily resolved.

Ideally, the encounter between Lakunle and Sidi is to the reader an exposition of the conflict in the drama. And how it attains the complexity he grapples with as the playwright’s clou on the subject of polar differences that make the world a dramatic spectacle of an absurdist course.

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First, the meeting is an exposition of two prominent characters. Their characterisation establishes the friction that ensues in the process of understanding the askew condition of the world. It is also noteworthy that their meeting happens at the said time of the day, morning; it is for the effect of the atmosphere of natural ignorance and an open ended question on matter of fact. As much as Lakunle tries to undermine the traditional prop that spells the different aspects of Sidi’s beauty, the latter refutes his superciliousness. She dismisses it as madness. The state of the world is a question of perspective and the individual’s perception of what he has around him. This follows that, in the acclamation and rebuttal that is the spectacle of the under tree meeting, Soyinka furtively sets the play in motion for presentation — not juxtaposition — of two viable meanings that life holds in varying perceptions.

Again, their meeting shows identity struggle. In doing this, the playwright makes both Lakunle and Sidi prototypes of working complexes that characterise civilisation. In the same light, primitivism. He seems to show that the authenticity of the individual notion of the ideal is incorrigible. This is why Lakunle is unable to talk down Sidi’s belief. Sidi maintains her identity as true a primitive lady, who is not amenable to Lakunle’s modernisation decoy which in the long run implicitly grounds the cultural subordination of the female.

Furthermore, their meeting also sheds light on the gender expectations. The question that goads our consciousness in this regard is why Lakunle strongly trifles with the bride price otherwise “the price”. Why he thinks Sidi should rather bend to his will and not him respect her value construct! This projects the expectations presupposed to be the preserve of the woman in the society, as a rule. It further concerns the ways in which women are strategically cowered by the male’s expectations. Past Lakunle’s disregard for the “barbaric” custom, the fact that he expects Sidi to be at once swayed by his promises shows another spotlight with which to grapple with how women are commodified. And that, both by the primitive man and his civilised counterpart.

On the whole, Lakunle and Sidi’s meeting project a range of interpretations attributed to class complexes and expectations. This is especially true in the way Sidi is presented as a character whose sex is sought for utilitarian functionality. Whether the man is civilised or old-fashioned, there may be, the play suggests, a way in which he desires the woman for some trenchant ideology of a weakling.

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