International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 240

Full Length Research Paper

A Study of Wole Soyinka's play The Lion and the Jewel in the light of cultures in conflict

Nadia Maher Ibrahim Moawad
  • Nadia Maher Ibrahim Moawad
  • Department of English, University of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 03 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 21 November 2016
  •  Published: 31 December 2016


The present study examines the conflict between cultures in Nigeria and western society as represented in Wole Soyinka’s play The Lion and the Jewel. The study shows the relationships between the different cultures. Soyinka is the first African who won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his accomplishment in the field of literature for his country Nigeria. He likes traditional cultures so; he came out from all difficulties with power to enlighten his people. His upbringing reflected both African and western influences, and the conflict and interaction between these two forces occupies most of his writing. He wrote about the African experience. As the most radical and powerful voice from Nigeria, Soyinka played a significant role in shaping the consciousness of the world. Since 1986, hundreds of Nigerians have proudly studied Nigerian literature. In addition, Departments of Literature in Nigerian universities are being established across the country. Within his writings, he reflects the colonial and postcolonial suffering in Nigerian society. Soyinka depicts the post-colonial Africa, where modernity and tradition are in constant conflict. Thus, he creates characters who challenge themselves in an atmosphere punctuated with the defenders of modernity in one camp and those who are deeply rooted in the traditions and customs on the other side. The focus of this study is to demonstrate how Soyinka uses characters, themes, and plot to investigate the conflict between cultures. Also, the study concludes that Soyinka manages to reflect to the world that the dominated culture is the traditional one besides reflecting the view of the world, beliefs, and condition of cultures. The play, The Lion and the Jewel is set in the village of Ilunjuinle in Yoruba West Africa. Oxford University Press published the play in 1963.

Key words: Culture, tradition, western, gap, old, new, domination, modernity, bride price, marriage.