Okonkwo becomes furious, kills a messenger, and then commits suicide in order to avoid being captured by the white men. Okonkwo cannot accept the evangelists, as they have made him lose his power and control over the community and his son. The change in Okonkwo’s life is negative as it makes Okonkwo desperately look for solutions, although there are none. His internal struggle with change leads him to kill another human and himself out of inability to do
9. “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that was how it looked to his father, and he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating. And so Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth.”
Following Okonkwo’s seven year exile, the village Okonkwo once knew has changed due to the influence of Christianity and the influence of the British missionaries and officers. Okonkwo’s initial reaction is to arm the clan against the Colonisers and drive the British people out of Igbo.
Life before the coming of the Westerners was the life Okonkwo loved. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat” (Achebe 1). With his entire life ahead of him, Okonkwo had brought great fame to his name and had already achieved what it took some men a lifetime before he turned twenty. He was regarded as “one of the greatest men of all time” (Achebe 3). Not only
Okonkwo was popularly called the "Roaring Flame." As he looked into the log fire he recalled the name. He was a flaming fire. How then could he have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate? His wife had played him false. He would teach her! But Nwoye resembled his grandfather, Unoka, who was Okonkwo's father. He pushed the thought out of his mind. He, Okonkwo, was called a flaming fire...At Nwoye's age Okonkwo had already become famous throughout Umofia for his wrestling and his fearlessness.
Okonkwo’s fear of unmanliness is kindled by his father, who was a lazy, unaccomplished man. Okonkwo strives to have a high status from a young age and eventually achieves it. He has a large family, many yams and is well known throughout the village for his valor. He
The Effect of White Missionaries on an African Tribe in Things Fall Apart by Achebe
Okonkwo is one of the most influential men in the Ibo tribe. In his tribe, he is both feared and honored. Which is evident by this quote, "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond... [He] had brought honor to his tribe by throwing Amalinze the Cat..."(Achebe page:3) This suggests that
Okonkwo's early success is recognized as the result of hard work, "That was not luck. At the most one could say that his chi or personal god was good" (19). But Okonkwo goes too far. He is harsh and unkind to his family and less successful clansmen, thus undermining his self-made fortune.
In conclusion, Okonkwo exemplifies Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero. His character has many tragic flaws, including, fear of weakness, hubris, and his work ethic, which in the end lead to his death. His life and death provoke pity and fear for the audience. Okonkwo becomes noble and is a great leader overall in the story. In the end, Chinua Achebe has shown an expressive character that evidently can be called a tragic
The description given early in the novel clearly establishes his character as being a strong and wealthy man who is well respected among the rest of the tribe due to his superior fighting abilities and his influential personality. Having achieved such elite status within the Umuofia clan, Okonkwo appears to be old-fashioned as it is seen in his approach in raising his family and tribal people. However, Okonkwo’s character changes incrementally with the emergence of a boy, Ikemefuna, from a neighboring village, who was brought to him because of his brutal attack against his wife Ojiugo during the ‘week of peace’. Amongst the Umuofia clan, the ‘week of peace’ is a tribal ritual whose conditions are not to complete any evil sins in a certain week span. After having accepted Ikemefuna into the family, Okonkwo experiences a shift in his mental state. Shortly hereafter, he questions this change, which demonstrates his lack of willingness to change which is clearly demonstrated in the book in several different ways like in chapter Eight, Okonkwo proclaims to himself, “When did you become a shivering old woman, you, who are known in all nine villages for your valour in war” (Achebe 56). This represents that his character has become a weaker, less influential individual amongst the nine tribes where he is well known. Symbolically, this depicts a fragile reputation in Okonkwo’s status within the community to which he belongs.
As stated in Chapter Two on pages 13 to 14, Okonkwo ruled his household with a hand so heavy that his entire family lives in perpetual fear of his fiery temper and impatience. Okonkwo is a very rash person and, when in a fit of rage, does not think about the consequences of his actions, which inadvertently leads him to his own downfall. In committing these actions, it is not ludicrous to believe that Okonkwo will later receive consequences due to the immorality of these actions.
On the other hand, another characteristic of Okonkwo that causes him to be seen as a tragic hero is his struggle to deal with the crumbling Igbo culture around him. Upon his return to Umuofia from his motherland, everything has changed among the Igbo people. The white men had completely torn apart a culture which at one point seemed to be so strong. Some had even been converted into Christians and almost everyone was questioning their own beliefs. According to Stephen Criswell, when Okonkwo returned, he had a decision to make between standing up for what he believed in and against what he hated, or complying with the white man’s way and being like everyone else in the tribe(Criswell). Unlike the others, Okonkwo would not back down, and that is why he is a hero. The Igbo culture was slowly being destroyed by the
Throughout the clan Okonkwo was respected for his strength, his success, and his skills. Okonkwo had killed five enemies in clan wars and thrown the cat in a wrestling match showing his strength to the clan. His success was defined by Okonkwo having three wives and a plentiful amount of yams. After the clan settles a dispute with another clan, Okonkwo is given the important job of caring for the child that was part of the exchange, “The elders of the clan had decided that Ikemefuna should be in Okonkwo’s care for a while.” (Page 27) This displays the trust and respect the elders feel toward Okonkwo. Furthermore, Achebe makes it clear that Okonkwo carried enough titles and created an identity that gave him the chance to take on this immense honor of caring for Ikemefuna. Okonkwo had also gained enough of a presence to be like one of the elders for the clan, “The elders and grandees of the village sat on their own stools brought there by their young sons or slaves. Okonkwo was among them.” (Page 46) Okonkwo is like the elders, because he is able to sit with them during clan events. This illustrates Okonkwo’s identity throughout the clan, being viewed by people of lower rank in the clan, while beside the most respected of the clan. In addition Okonkwo viewed himself as one of the high members of the clan, by challenging himself to be unlike his father and gain titles to contradict his father.