Musa is a man with questionable character, full of falsehood and deceit. Musa is a seer and medicine man in Mende kingdom who is supposed to be the eye of the gods and the custodian of the culture and morality in the land, but his activities in the kingdom are carried out contrarily. He allows himself to be used as a dog of war and puppet by devil incarnate, Lamboi who lacks human feelings.  

Musa is co-opted by Lamboi into the murder of Gbanya. He uses alligator gall to poison chief Gbanya’s water, all in a bid for Lamboi to succeed him. Musa is also portrayed as a wicked seer, because according to Lamboi, Musa killed Yattah’s son and Mama Kadi’s daughter. 
However, Musa continues in his wicked ways with his partner in crime, Lamboi. This time, Yoko next plan is not only to make Moyamba ungovernable for Yoko but also to implicate her and turn the people against her. To achieve this, Lamboi connives with Musa to kidnap and kill Ndapi and Jilo’s daughter. And when it is done, both will stir the women and others to rebel against the Queen. The people would be reliably informed that Yoko used her as a sacrifice to acquire more powers so that the Governor will be at her beck and calls and her, reign will be rendered useless and destabilized. This singular act of betrayal contributes to what leads Yoko to commit suicide because she feels betrayed by her own blood brother when she finds out through the divination of Gbeni.

The tragic theme of a colonial oppression is introduced at the beginning of the play when Gbanya narrates the dreams he had last night to Yoko on how the Governor humiliated him in the eyes of his people. Gbanya vows to receive and treat the Governor well in order not to incur his wrath. This shows that the setting of the play is connected to a pre-colonial era where Governors were appointed to oversee the activities of African communities. And some of these Governors, representatives of Imperial Majesty tend to overzealously exploit the people but also treat them as sub-humans or humiliate them when the people in the community err against them and that is exactly what Dr. Samuel Rowe, the Governor does to Gbanya when he finds out that the people have not stopped engaging in the war despite his stern warning to desist from such barbaric act. As a punitive measure or punishment, Gbanya the chief of Senehun is humiliated before his people. Rowe orders the soldiers to stretch Gbanya out on the ground. He also fires a shot from his pistol in the air to threaten Lavalie and Ndapi not to retaliate, Rowe takes the rice and cattle Gbanya entertained him with and zoom off.
Moreover, colonial domination also makes the chief and the people, not to have confidence in themselves because they feel and believe that the Governor, the white man is awash with superior and supreme power. That is why even when Rowe sends his Messengers to Moyamba, the people especially the chief treat him well like the Imperial Majesty herself.

Lastly, the people receive a dirty slaps on their faces when the Governor turns against them to gives out a portion of land that belongs to them to the chiefdom of Bo. He sends a message through his messenger stating that the message came from his Highness, the Governor South of Bandajama, the six villages to the north of the Tabe River now belong to the people of the chiefdom of Bo.

Sidi is the major character in the play as the major conflict centers around her. She is the belle or jewel of the title, while Baroka in the Bale and the “lion”. She is simple and strengthened in her decision-making to some extent, but she is somewhat unstable in character: for she initially tells Lakunle she will marry him willingly as long as he is prepared to fulfill the demands of custom between them and she maintains her stand throughout the play.
Sidi is easily moved and influenced by things around her. One can conclude that she is excessively gullible. For instance, the return of the Lago visitor with some copies of the magazine which contains her photograph fuels her pride and arrogance beyond measure and she begins to feel that she is far too good for either Lakunle and Baroka or for anybody else in the llunjunle because of her love for the new fame. She organizes the dance of the lost traveler which serves as a mime to describe the stranger’s experience during his first visit and returns the magazine bearing her alluring pictures which swell her pride.

And the art of gullibility is also exhibited in Sidi when Sadiku comes around to woo her on behalf of Baroka, she rejects such offer of marriage because she feels that Baroka is too old for her, and she also turns down the invitation to a feast in her honor in the palace and she is not aware that it is a mere trick to lure her into Baroka’s set trap.

She is somewhat a pessimist because when she finds Sadiku rejoicing over Baroka’s claimed impotence she becomes very excited and inquisitive.

To further mock his impotence, Sidi changes her mind and decides to pay Baroka a visit. She consequently walks into his trick, thereby losing her maidenhood in the process. Her experience in the Bale’s palace is not in any way palatable, especially now that she is no more a maid. She ends up marrying Baroka and Lakunle’s dreams of transformation are still in pipeline or unrealizable.


(i) Tradition versus Modernity:

The play explores the theme of tradition and modernity in the wake of early colonialism which is the primary conflict in the play. The tradition in question is the Yoruba customs against a western conception of progress and modernity as represented by the conflict between Baroka and Lakunle for Sidi’s hand in marriage. Lakunle who represents the modern Nigerian man, wears Western clothing, speaks and behaves like an English man, and has been educated in a presumably British school. His supreme desire is to turn llunjunle into a modern paradise like the city of Lagos. He actively despises the traditional customs of his village and the people who pledge support to them. This is best exemplified when Lakunle refuses to pay Sidi’s bride price.
However, Baroka on the other hand is an ant-modernist and his extreme desire is to preserve the village’s traditional way of life. Lakunle who finds Baroka’s lifestyle and views archaic, also describes how Baroka paid off a surveyor not to construct train tracks through the outskirts of llunjunle, thereby preventing the village from experiencing the modern world. Also, Baroka clearly demonstrates that he does not hate modernity or progress, and he does not want it imposed on him or bend the village’s way of life all in the name of civilization and modernity. Baroka wishes to add Sidi to his many wives which are fully accepted by the custom of the land, while Lakunle dreams of one wife according to the dictate of western culture. According to the tradition, when Baroka dies, Sidi will become the head wife of the new Bale, a position that would make her one of the most powerful women in llunjunle. As soon as she realizes that the idea of modern marriage may make her less powerful with the fewer rights she opts for traditional marriage. In the end, Baroka triumphs in the fight for Sidi’s hand in marriage. This shows African ways of life are still a lot more supreme than the western culture that appears more complex, complicated, and incomprehensible.


(ii) Culture Conflict (clash of Cultures):

The play examines the clash of two distinct cultures that is the conflict between African and European customs or ways of life. Baroka who is the proponent of traditional culture tries hard to prevent the advent of western civilization and foreign values into llunjunle as the selfish Baroka bribes the surveyor to divert the railway track away from llunjunle, thereby foiling the intending progress in the village. This clash is also seen when the stranger from Lagos, (Photo Journalist), the seat of western civilization, makes the indigenous culture less attractive as he causes a stir during his visit to llunjunle. The people describe his camera as a “one-eyed box” and his motor car as “the devil’s own horse”. The photographs on the cover page and inside of Lagos Man’s Magazine boosts Sidi’s ego and this almost makes her overlook her union with Baroka, for she begins to attract more importance to her growing fame. 
Also, the main conflict in the play shifts away from tradition versus modernity to individuality to personal worldview. For instance, Baroka’s proposed non-functioning stamp-making machine”, a strange machine is a symbol of modernity which he brainwashes Sidi with initially to final seduction scene in order to woo her. He also assures Sidi that the stamp will soon start producing Sidi’s image

(iii) The theme of Love and Marriage:

The play examines the idea of love and marriage from two perspectives. African tradition and European ideas of marriage. The former is basically practical which involves the payment of bride price. Sidi at first confesses to Lakunle that she is willing to marry him any day, any time, but the full bride price must be paid in full because there is a thin line between bride price and virginity.
Sidi’s two eligible suitors (Lakunle and Baroka) are driven by different ideas. Lakunle wants to woo Sidi with empty, unrealistic, imaginary, and vague western ideas; for he promises her sophisticated life of western cultures which involves eating with cutleries (knives and forks), walking side by side in the street, kiss her as all educated men do but Sidi dislikes such practices.
Baroka on his part is devising a special plan to woo and win her. Firstly, he sends Sadiku to woo her on his behalf but Sidi turns down the offer of marriage. Baroka then deceives Sadiku that he is impotent in order to lure Sidi into his shady plan. Sid visits Baroka to mock him for his impotence but ends up in his seduction trap. In the end, Sidi rejects Lakunle’s western ideas and chooses the traditional lifestyle championed by Baroka.


(i) Class Struggle and Education: 

The play centers on class struggle and the status of education in our society. Jimmy comes from a working class background, but has been highly educated. He went to a university but not gainfully employed. He is still stuck running to sweet stall, and he does not feel fully comfortable and hasn’t been accepted into the upper classes. He speaks and uses Jaw breaking words, read newspapers, but he sometimes has to look these words up in a dictionary.

Alison and Jimmy’s relationship is the main meeting point where class struggle unfolds. Alison is from an upper class background very different from Jimmy’s. Both portray the struggle between the two classes in military terms as the two just can’t blend. Jimmy is full of pride because of his education and this makes him alienate, separate and look down on others who are not so educated like himself, Cliff is such a character in the text.

(ii) Theme of Love and Instability:

The nature of love in the play is quite controversial; Jimmy and Alison’s marriage is consummated in the ground of revenge. Their relationship is seen as master and servant relationship and they barely enjoy peace and harmony at home as Jimmy is always at the control of everything, while Alison’s business is to remain silent. Jimmy believes that love is pain and suffering. He therefore scorns Cliff and Alison’s love for each other, which is gentle fondness that does not correspond to his own brand of passionate, angry feeling. Jimmy’s definition of love has to do with the class tensions between Jimmy and Alison, and she tells her father, colonel Redfern that Jimmy married her out of sense of revenge against the upper classes. It was born out of sense of competition between classes.

It is clear that Jimmy and Alison’s love for each other is not characterized by much tenderness though they do manage to exhibit one when they play their animal game. Jimmy and Alison as the beer and squirrel are able to express more simple affection for each other, but only in a dehumanized manner. In the first scene, Jimmy describes the game as a retreat from organized society. Their relationship is marred by class struggle anger and suffering.

Jimmy and Alison’s relationship lack feeling and stability, because Jimmy especially, does not nurse any aorta of feeling for Alison, as he feels undaunted or not worry at all when she lost her first baby, Alison who is ever ready to be with Jimmy walks away and returns quickly to him and they both renew their vows and opts for peace.

(iii) Theme of Feminism and Gender Inequality:

Jimmy is seen as a misogynist in the play, that is, one who hates women. He treats the two women in the play with disdain and utter rejection. Alison seems to be doing the household work and otherwise be ignorant of any social development. On the contrary, Jimmy treats her badly and has no regard for her as a wife by also verbally abusing her because in his eyes she is lazy and does not know how to lead a real life. Real life to Jimmy means that you have to suffer and have experienced real emotions.

While Cliff and Alison’s father are very caring towards Alison, Jimmy disrespects and humiliates her because is a mere woman. Cliff helps bandages her wound and her father rescues her from the cruelty of her domestic life with Jimmy. Jimmy also accuses Alison’s mother when he called her “old bitch and also wishes she was dead”. He resents her because she represents an upper class, educated ones who object to his marriage with Alison. Jimmy also despises Helena’s being too churchy. He feels nothing when Helena intends to leave his house before Alison resurfaces for the second time towards the end of the play.

Also, Alison and her father, colonel Redfern want too fight against gender inequality, silently without any bridge of peace by leaving Jimmy’s house. The colonel plans to take Alison away in order to restore peace and balance to her existence. Everything is resolved and Jimmy comes back to his senses and sues for peace in his household.
Cliff Lewis is Jimmy’s friend. Jimmy says that he is the only friend of his that still stays around especially after Hugh went abroad. Cliff is of the same age as Jimmy. But unlike Jimmy, Cliff is short, dark and big-boned. In Act I, he wears a pullover and grey new but very creased trousers. He is teased by Cliff and Alison for not being able to take care of his new trousers. This is indicative of his lower class background which is supposed to be crude. Cliff is relaxed, easy and lethargic. The stage direction also states that Cliff has the sad natural intelligence of the self-taught. This means that though Cliff might not have been educated like Jimmy, he still tries to ‘better himself’ as can be seen in his seriousness at reading newspapers in the play. Cliff is the foil of Jimmy in the play. While Jimmy tends to alienate people and their love, Cliff attracts people. People find it easier to talk to and confide in him. He cares so much about Alison and this counteracts Jimmy’s characteristic indifference



There is a serious case of one who is building an enduring family reputation and unity and there is another who is destroying it and bringing it to disrepute.

Rose who is positive minded does everything possible to reposition the Maxson’s family by giving moral and financial support to the members in her household, while Troy whose income cannot even settle his family’s need is busying dragging the family name on the mire.

So, Troy struggles to fulfill his role as a father to his son and husband to his wife. He does not do much before his demise. The family he ruled with Iron hand or hard-handedness is torn apart, as his son; Cory turns against him and also becomes a rebel. After leveling serious criticism on how Troy tormented his life and dreams for a better future, he vows not to attend his funeral.
Troy is hardworking, strong, disciplined and fond of telling imaginative and compelling stories about death. Troy’s year of hard work which only yields meager and fruitless progress demoralizes him. He often fails to provide the needed love, care and support that could mean the whole world for his family as the family’s breadwinner. Troy is also narrow minded and his parochial views about life create conflicts with every character in the play. This results to his inability to accept others choices in life when they differ from Troy’s philosophy.

Troy rules his household with iron hand; for he aggressively disagrees with Lyons’ decision to be a musician and Cory’s decision to play football in college as well as Rose’s habit of playing the numbers. Troy lives in dual existence; with two opposing ideas. His life’s history is half of hope and half filled with disappointment. He once lived at the top of his career opportunity as a baseball player and later ended up as a garbage collector. He does the opposite of what he preaches and that is why he could hide his extramarital affairs with Alberta who died during childbirth.
(i)African Beauty; The poem gives prominence to the admiration and glorification of the beauty of the black woman; hence the whole of the poem is devoted to the beauty of the black woman. The poet admires the beautiful smooth skin of the African woman, which strikes his heart” like the lighting of the eagle” he appreciates the powerful black presence of the natural black woman around him right from his childhood. The African woman’s body is then compared to the of a ripened fruit, and whose resonant contralto voice is regarded as the spiritual anthem of the nation. The poet describes the African woman as elegant, graceful, and pure in all her physical attributes. This, the poet achieved by evoking elements of beauty in the poem, such as: ” sun-baked pass”, the “heart of summer” “the heart of noon”, ” firm-fleshed ripe fruit”, somber raptures of black wine” to refer to African that is personified as a Naked woman, a Black woman in the poem.

(ii)The Nurturing Quality of a Black Woman; In the poem, the poet does not cease to express the unbeatable qualities of a black woman as the source and sustainer of the growing child. The poet expresses his affection and appreciation to the black woman who had care tenderly in the gentleness of her hands until he enters the “promised land” of adulthood (Lines 1- 10). The ability of a black woman to give birth and sustain the life of the infant child is applauded. Also, the role of the African woman as the first teacher of the child is uncovered by the poet, as he remembers his mother’s tutelage at the various stages of childhood that sustained his growth into adulthood. (Line 4—5)
“The Theme of Praises of the Africa Culture.

(iii)The theme of the praises of the Africa; culture cannot be overlooked in the poem. The poet’s choice of words to enchant the praises of the black woman is extraordinary.
In lines 1-2, the poet made a direct call of a naked woman, a black woman who is “clothed” with her color which is life. The poet showers praise on the natural black color of the African woman’s skin, and everything about the black woman. Her smooth skin is compared to that of an athletel The poet further praises the African woman as graceful and elegant as a gazelle. The natural beauty of the black woman in the poem is the richness of the African culture before the colonization.

1. Metaphor
Metaphor is figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unrelated things by stating that one thing is another thing. This is another dominant poetic device used in the Raider of the Treasure Trove by Lade Wosornu. The poet uses metaphor in the following lines to concretize his ideas.
Line 5 – Powered by the breeze of love
Line 6 – Chattered in the ink of compassion
Line 9 – Of things which would blot out that brief
Line 11 – Rage is chief
Line 16 – Rage spells calamity
Line 21 – Rage sets sail…
Rhetorical question: This is a literary device that asks a question in order to make a statement which does not expect an answer.
Line 1 – But what can be worthy of your life?
Line 2-3 – What dearer than the gems or your dreams;/The reasons you are here? …
Line 21 – …Can ruin lag far behind?

2. Alliteration
This is the repetition of the same sound or sounds especially consonant at the beginning of several words that are close together. Examples in the poem:
Line 4 – To fly flags of joy, and sail upstreams.
Line 11 – No, Rob you of your life, Rage is chief
Line 12 – Rage drags rags after you, of charity.


Personification is a figure of speech or poetic device which transfers human qualities to inanimate objects or things. Examples: Line 13 – Rage is thief
Line 15 – Rage spreads toxic fumes on every scene.
The poem “Caged Bird” is Maya Angelou way of conceptualizing the state and fate of African-American society. the use of song is a reference to how slaves in the nineteenth century gather at Congo Square to sing as a way of remembering their heritage. In the poem, she evokes the metaphor of two birds living two contrasting lives; one which is free and gay and another which is caged and enduring pain. 


The first stanza presents the free bird. Through the use of active verbs the poets gives the kind of freedom enjoyed by the free bird. The free bird enjoys the liberty of doing whatever it wishes or wants, walks about, flies wherever it wants – “floats with the wind, “dips his wing” and “dares to claim the sky”. These words highlight the power of freedom with limitless boundaries enjoyed by the free bird which also it to attain its full capabilities and possibilities. 

The second stanza changes the atmosphere in contrast with the first stanza. Here, the poet presents a caged bird trapped physically and psychologically. The physical enslavement is the cage which traps the bird limiting it to enjoy the benefits of the sky. Lines 8 – 9; “But a bird that stalks/down his narrow cage.” The psychological trap refers to the bars of rage which hinders the bird from enjoying freedom. The rage arises from the societal amputation meted on it. Being caged si not enough for its oppressor who goes further to amputate its body parts. Lines 12 & 13; “His wings are clipped and/ His feet are tied”. “Wings” and “feet” are symbols of mobility and freedom. 

The poet reveals that bird has been totally disabled and restricted from enjoying life benefits and rights. hence, the bird is only left with option of singing. Symbolically, songs are used by Africans to express their sufferings, excitement and emotions. Historically, during the slave trade, songs kept the slaves going through their suffering hence, the reason African-Americans dominate America’s music industry today. This stanza depicts different forms of horrifying experiences African-Americans passed through daily in the US for hundreds of years. the segregation, restriction on their movement, denial of access to economic opportunities and education are displayed in this stanza. 

In the third stanza, the poet goes deeper into the songs of the imprisoned bird which longs for freedom. The bird sings with fearful trill which shows the emotional instability the bird is passing through. This is a revelation that the caged bird doesn’t wish to be caged all its life. The next two lines reveal the birds desire to be elsewhere probably its original land or place. Though it has not been there buy it perceives that such place will be better than it current place. “Of things known/but longed for still”(Lines 17 & 18). The bird increases the tempo of its song such that its voice reaches “the distant hill” – line 20. In most cases, cry for freedom is heard by the oppressors yet they do nothing about it thus the caged bird continues to sing for freedom.

In reality, a lot of African-Americans are demanding for equality and freedom in America, yet if given their freedom, they have nowhere to return because they have lost their heritage in Africa. Therefore they are confined to the country where they are seen as inferior citizens. 

Stanza four gives another picture of the free bird thoughts. The free bird thinks of the benefits it enjoys which are beyond the grasp of the caged bird. These thoughts centre around the breeze and winds that abate its flight, the joy of surfing through “sighing tree” and the access to the basic necessities of life, “fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn.” These are beyond the reach of the caged bird which the caged bird can only dream off but will never have them. the lines depict the free bird’s freedom of thought and movement just like the white folks in America in contrast to the limitation experienced by Africa-Americans in US. The last line of the stanza sums this contrast when the free bird names the sky its own – “and he names the sky his own”, this is indication that some people feel they are born with rights over others. 

In the fifth stanza, the post switches to the caged bird predicament. The poet uses the conjunction “but” again just like in stanza two to show that in reality these two birds are equal however one has taken unfair advantage over the other by freedom it enjoys. While the free birds enjoys the reality, the caged birds only dreams. Even the dreams have turned to dreadful nightmares as the caged bird’s dreams have been aborted from birth. By “Shadow shouts”, the poet explains that the caged bird is defeated mentally just like its body is maimed, thus the bird remains caged even if the caged is removed. However, the caged bird still overcomes these challenges and asks for freedom, “So he opens his throat to sing.” 

The last stanza is the repetition of the third stanza. The repetition shows the caged bird’s resilient spirit to give up on its freedom. The poetic persona reveals the importance of the poem to the fight for the total freedom of African-Americans in the US. The poem adds to the voices fighting against racial discrimination and other forms of exploitation meted out at the African-Americans. The last stanza acts as a refrain to show that the poem is a song of freedom by repeating the caged bird.
(i)Rhetorical Question
There is an instance of rhetorical question (in any case, an enjambment) in lines 35-36: “were we led all that way for Birth or Death?”

(i)Pun; There is an instance of pun in line 33 of the poem where the poetic persona played upon the phrase “set down”. The first “set down” is a phrasal verb while the second “set down” modified with the determiner “this” is nominalised. Apart from the distinction in word class, “set down” is also used in different senses. While the first use of “set down” denotes putting something down, the other use of “set down” implies depression and disappointment.

(iii)Allusion; There is an instance of literary allusion in the opening lines of the poem. Allusion, according to Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms, is defined as “an indirect or passing reference to some event, person, place, or artistic work, the nature and relevance of which is not explained by the writer but relies on the reader’s familiarity with what is thus mentioned.” Within the context of the poem, there is a case of literary allusion. The opening lines of the poem allude to a Christian sermon given by the Bishop of Winchester

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