He feels it is outmoded and demeans women, but Sidi cannot see that, and demands that he recognize her value by paying the bride price. This is something that would never be tolerated in western culture, so it shows the great differences that will come to Africa, and how those differences will affect her people. Lakunle is really a voice for the future, but his voice also dooms traditional African culture, which is at the heart of this play.
The author uses prose for his dialogue in many areas of the play, another European artistic element. The characters speak English, and speak it rhythmically, as well, which comes from early Greek and Roman drama, as well. The use of miming, dancing, and other elements to tell the story adds texture to the play, and blends the African elements quite effectively. Later in the play, Soyinka uses mummers to extend the action of the play and celebrate the “fall” of the lion and his supposed impotence. Mummers were also a European traditional art form that began in Greece and spread to other parts of Europe, including England. The mummers create another sort of mime on the stage while they move the action forward, and they indicate how much the author was influenced by his time spent in Europe continuing his education.
The ending of the play seems to be the denouncing of the European influences and artistic references throughout the play. In choosing the Bale over Lakunle, Sidi is choosing the traditional way of life over the modern way of life. She sees the European ways that Lakunle represents as weak and unfulfilling, while the traditional African ways the elder Bale represents are invigorating and strong. She is contemptuous of Lakunle, even though he vows he loves her despite her loss of virginity. She sees that as weak, and says she would never marry a weak man. The entire play is based on the clash between these two values, and it uses European art and culture to get these messages across to the reader.
Without European art forms, like drama and mime, the play would not exist, so it is an excellent example of how two cultures can blend to create works of art. The play uses other dramatic forms, as well. The Greeks often used choruses in their ancient dramas to help explain the action and move the action forward. In this play, the miming and mummers act as a form of a chorus. They move the action forward and help explain it, while the actors stop their participation for a scene or two. Many playwrights have used this ancient dramatic form throughout the ages. Soyinka seems to salute the great dramatic arts with his use of these devices, and without European dramatic art development, these devices would not exist, and would not add texture and drama to this play. In conclusion, this play is a testament to European art in many ways. It salutes many of the devices that have been used in European plays since ancient times, and it uses them to graphically illustrate the changes that were coming to Africa when this play was originally written in 1959. The author used these devices to dramatically illustrate the clash between European and African cultures that he knew was going to overcome Africa. The use of these European art forms was the perfect example of how cultures change, and not always for the better. In the end, Sidi made the right choice for her at the time. She had no patience or interest in the modern future of Africa. She was a traditional girl who did not want change, so “the jewel” chose “the lion” over the progressive. That may be what Soyinka hoped Africa would do with western culture, but as we know now, that did not occur, and Africa has been changed as a result, with a dramatic loss of their traditional culture. References Brians, Paul. “Wole Soyinka Study Guide.” Washington State University. 2003. 4 May 2010.