The IUP Journal of English Studies
Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel as a Sociocultural Document

Article Details
Pub. Date : September, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES60921
Author Name : Bhupendra Nandlal Kesur and Mukesh Pundalik Patil
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 6



The characters, subject, setting, and dialogues of Wole Soyinka's play The Lion and the Jewel (1963) represent the varied social and cultural aspects of Nigeria. The play portrays the cultural and social life of Nigerians very accurately. The locale of the play is Ilujinle, a typical Nigerian village. The play is divided into three parts- Morning, Noon, and Night-and the action takes place on a single day, a Sunday. This paper explores the play as a sociocultural document.


This paper explores the sociocultural aspects of Wole Soyinka's play The Lion and the Jewel. Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in literature, has brought African literature, especially Nigerian literature, into the limelight with his innovative style of writing. Although a prolific writer who wrote in almost all genres, he is mostly admired for his contribution to drama. His plays imbibe the culture and mythology of Africa. Soyinka derives his themes and plots from the Yoruba cosmology. He exploits Yoruba myths and rituals in his plays only to consolidate his thematic concerns. He applies Yoruba myths and rituals and reinterprets them in the present context with their positive and negative connotations. Through his plays, Soyinka gives a voice to his people. His writings focus on his land, culture, customs, human and social relations, economic conditions, and the agonies and anguish of his people. This makes him the conscience of his society.

The Lion and the Jewel: Summary
The locale of Soyinka's play The Lion and the Jewel is a village in Nigeria called Ilujinle. The play is divided into three parts-Morning, Noon, and Night. The action of the play takes place on a single day, a Sunday. The play begins with Sidi, a beautiful young girl, the "jewel" of the village, carrying a pail of water on her head. Lakunle, a westernized school teacher, approaches her and offers to take the pail from Sidi. He loves Sidi and wants to