The Lion and the Jewel is a fantastic tale by Wole Soyinka set in a typical pre-technology African village, a yoruba village to be precise. The play deals with such traditional values as bride price and the place of the woman. It also recounts precisely the elements needed for marriage in such a society, as opposed to Western ideas.
Lakunle is an educated young man who teaches the children of the village. His western ways, such as eating with a fork and wearing knickers and socks have made him the laughing stock of the village. Not surprisingly, he proclaims himself in love with the village belle, Sidi. Thus he constantly waylays her, and attempts to impress her with his knowledge of whitemen and big cities.
Sidi is unmoved by such entreaties. She remains unimpressed and is as conservative as she was brought up to be. When Lakunle attempts too help her carry her pail of water, she ridicules him for continously acting as the village fool. When he tries to prevent her from carrying water on her head and gets wet in the process the best she can tell him is "see, wet for your pains."
She does not care whether the women in big cities walk arm in arm beside their men, or that Lakunle would give her an opportuinity at such a life. She tells him bluntly that if he wants to marry her he should work hard and pay her bride price. She even considers his job as a teacher a loafers lot and wonders aloud why he cannot harvest big yams like other men. Lakunle''''s condemnation of the bride price as an insult to womanhood falls on deaf ears. To Sidi Lakunle is just too lazy to raise enough money for her bride price.
Unfortunately for Lakunle, the Baale(chief) sees Sidi and sets his sights on her. He spreads a story that he is impotent and then invites her to his palace where he seduces her and by having sex with her, makes her his wife.
Lakunle hears the story which is going round the village and seeks Sidi for confirmation. Expecting her to be sad and full of regrets he professes he still loves her and would still marry her. Sidi laughs and informs him that even at 60, the Baale is more a man than him, and that Lakunle can necer satisfy her the way the Baale can.
Thus ended Lakunle''''s expectation for a bride-price free marriage. it goes without saying: no marriage for lazy man. Lakunle was an African trying to use Europeaness as an excuse to skip tradition. The result was fatal, as the woman he loved preferred her traditional values to love. It was a triumph of action over love.