Okonkwo 's Suicide : A Coward 's Way Out

1612 Words Jun 7th, 2016 7 Pages
Okonkwo’s Suicide: A Coward’s Way Out Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, ends with the discovery that Okonkwo has committed suicide. In a culture where Suicide is considered a great evil, what would bring Okonkwo to end his life in such an undignified manner? One explanation is that despite his warrior appearance, Okonkwo he man was nothing more than a coward. Evidence within the novel suggests that Okonkwo was not the warrior he was made out to be. He suffers from cowardice, and throughout the novel tries to overcome this flaw. His decision to commit suicide is a result of his cowardice and lead to the demise of his culture. Okonkwo is introduced to the reader as this mighty warrior and high achiever. The first two lines of the novel state “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements,” (Achebe 3). Okonkwo is ambitious and his might is further displayed when he “throws the cat,” Amalinze, the mightiest warrior in the land. The Igbo culture encourages the earning of Titles, which determine one’s place within the society. According to Vernantius Ndukaihe, the author of the novel Achievement as Value in the Igbo/African Identity: The Ethics, “...title-holding encourages individualism and gives power and authority to the holder,” This article explains that earning a title in the Igbo society granted the bearer great respect from the community (Ndukaihe). Okonkwo’s motivation to earn titles did…

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