To begin, Okonkwo is shown to be a self made, well respected member of the Umuofia clan. Though, he seems stern, most of his life is dictated with fear. For example,the passage states “ And indeed he was possessed by the fear of his father’s contemptible life and shameful death.”(Achebe,18/1). This helps the reader understand that Okonkwo faces many challenges in life to prove to his village and the people themselves that he is nothing like his father, Unoka and is haunted by the fact that one day he will become a man whom he promised he will never become. The passage states “ Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.”(Achebe,61/1). This helps the reader understand the reason why
Groups break up because they never got across what they wanted to do personally, and they have creative differences, and egos start to clash. When the Western ideas were introduced to the Igbo culture in Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, some of the Igbo people’s identity was challenged. Nwoye was one of them. He started in the novel as the first son of the main character, Okonkwo. When the cultural collision between the British colonists and the Igbo people happened, Nwoye’s identity was challenged to the point where he disowned his own father, and his father disowning him as well. The reasons for Nwoye’s change in their sense of identity included the feeling Nwoye have for the first time when he heard the voice of the twins, the murder of
Okonkwo soon learns about this and confronts his son, Nwoye about his secret meetings, Okonkwo soon becomes enraged and disowns his son after hearing about his experience not before abusing him of course. This action causes an effect which ultimately leads to Okonkwo’s downfall. Okonkwo enraged by the spread of Christianity within his own village self-proclaims war on the “white man”. Okonkwo eventually was detained as a result of his actions towards the “white man”. After he was released from detainment Okonkwo killed a courier and began to truly understand he was a rebel without a cause as his fellow Tribesmen would not help him with his internal struggle. Okonkwo knowing, he would be caught and executed for his crimes, instead decided to ultimately end his own life by hanging himself. Okonkwo’s major downfall in the story was his inability to co-exist with the white man and began his own personal vendetta against the Christian missionaries. Throughout the story the main essential theme Achebe tried to relay to us would be the fact that even though individuals may be of different religions, skin color, and have different personalities there is a realization that
For all of his desire to be strong, Okonkwo is caught up by the constant fear of being perceived as weak. He is afraid of failure and afraid of being considered weak. This fear drives him to do whatever he can to not become a failure like his father which ironically contributes to his death. While Okonkwo was a strong and important figure in his tribe, he had to keep his reputation that way by making some hard decisions. One of them was when he had to kill Ikemefuna, a young boy from the neighboring tribe. Okonkwo started accepting the decision to kill Ikemefuna because he started to call Okonkwo father. He had to keep his own valor intact and kill the boy to prevent himself from showing any weakness, but deep down, Okonkwo was really upset because of what he did which was ironic, “’When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked himself, 'you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.'" (Achebe 65). He continued to roll downhill when the white man comes to try and convert Okonkwo’s tribe. Okonkwo responds by killing one of the messengers that were sent. This cause Okonkwo's own tribe to question his actions. “"Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape.
Okonkwo's fear of being perceived as weak tragically leads to him to be unnecessarily violent and excessively prideful. These two fatal flaws lead to Okonkwo’s own emotional isolation, and his inevitable downfall. Driven by the fear of being seen as weak and emasculated, Okonkwo exhibits hyper masculinity and rage. Although this behavior initially leads to success in the patriarchal society of Umofia, rage is his greatest bane: it masks his compassion and pusillanimity. Onkonkwo’s obsession to never appear feminine is driven to the extreme. He denies affection even to his own family, “never show[ing] any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To [Okonkwo] show[ing] affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.” (pg. 28). Okonkwo whose “whole life [is] dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness.” (pg. 13) suppress his compassion in order to appear important and manly. Ironically this creates a stark juxtaposition between his own fear and his position as an alpha male. Rather than being masculine and courageous, Okonkwo just creates tension within his family and within himself. The pinnacle of this extreme hypermasculinity is when Okonkwo ignores the wisdom of the elder Ezeudu, and violently kills his “son” Ikamafuna: “As the man who had cleared his throat drew up and raised his machete, Okonkwo looked away. He had heard Ikamafuna cry “My father, they have killed me!”
The breakdown of Okonkwo’s relationship with his son is evident throughout this novel. The reason for this tumultuous relationship is, Okonkwo is too engrossed in maintaining his status quo, and his relationship was governed by his own beliefs, principles and his own “right way to do right things”. He treated his family very strictly as he believed that showing affection revealed a sign of social weakness; thus the disheartening lack of respect and love was a mal nourishing factor with in the family.
Okonkwo’s harbouring of his sentimental emotions is a crucial part of his personality which makes him the way he is, for example, Okonkwo hates music because of the emotion that is required to create it, he rejects the idea of meaningful conversation because he considers it to be soft, and as he ages, he is rejecting the increasingly obvious fact that violence does not constitute inner strength. Firstly, it is revealed in the novel that Okonkwo does not like music and that he is bad at playing it which shows that he lacks the ability to express his emotions through listening to or creating music. Furthermore, Okonkwo’s ideals of not liking conversation and considering them weak goes against the mentality of his village which believes that “conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” Lastly, as Okonkwo gets older, he is slowly realising that his violent ways are not truly making him a strong person but are in fact, slowly destroying him but Okonkwo refuses to accept this and continues with his violent attitude. Okonkwo has trouble revealing his true emotions ad even though they are present, he would never express them to anyone.
Okonkwo’s violent behavior escalate to the point in which he attend to shoot his own wife just because she mumble some words in his back. This doesn’t mean he is a bad person. Later in the chapter is found that he is very fond of his daughter Ezinma, display feelings of love and affection but he consider those emotion as weakness to himself
He had no patience with his own father” (page 6). Okonkwo sees himself more powerful and more wise than any other man in the village could be. He often disrespects the clans gods by disobeying their commandments for peace. A great example of this is when Okonkwo beat his wife for little to no reason. Okonkwo was looking for any reason to beat his wife or disobey the religious rules “Okonkwo, with no work to do had been walking aimlessly in his compound in suppressed anger, found an outlet.” (page 37). Okonkwo will do anything to maintain his self molded figure of his character being characterized by strength of power. Okonkwo will go to any extent to keep his character. While reading Things Fall Apart the reader see Okonkwo going to extremes when he killed his son Ikemefuna. The reader can see he loved and cared for and had a strong connection to Ikemefuna and for him to to kill him without thinking twice shows the
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
Okonkwo has many errors judging the complexity of many big decisions. He also has a major weakness, that being his pride and constant battle-ready state. These end up being a major downfall in his life. Ikemefuna ends up being a part of Okonkwo’s errors in pride when the Oracle decrees Ikemefuna’s death. One blow from a machete didn’t kill him and having seen this, “Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (61). This quote shows Okonkwo’s kryptonite, being thought of as a weak person. This would eventually lead to him and five others being captured by the missionaries and brought to a jail. “The six men ate nothing throughout that day and the next. They were not even given water to drink. ‘We should have killed the white man if you had listened to me,’ Okonkwo snarled” (195). This quote shows Okonkwo’s failure to judge just how serious the situation is with him saying what they should have done is listened to him. Both of these events lead Okonkwo down a dark path. While taking some of the missionaries on a path to find Okonkwo, they see his body hanging from a tree. Obierika, a long-time friend of Okonkwo starts to yell at the missionaries, blaming them for his death by saying, “That man was one of the greatest in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog” (208). This quote shows the end of a long chain of events that drove Okonkwo to his destruction of
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
Okonkwo is a strong and confident man who has vowed to never be like his father Unoka. His father was lazy, unsuccessful and carried no titles. The relationship between Okonkwo and his father motivated Okonkwo to gain titles and become successful inside the clan. In this sense, Okonkwo has gained many titles, has three wives, and respected by the clan. Okonkwo chose to feel that identity in the clan was most important, and through this he had become a presence in the clan, noticed by the elders. However after the arrival of missionaries, who had come to convert the clans to Christianity, Okonkwo’s view is completely contradicted by the missionaries. Okonkwo had grown accustomed to members of the clan being ranked by certain tiers, while the
Some clan members, however, do rebel and burn some of the preachers’ shelters. This results in a big meeting, both European and African. At the gathering the tribe members are told to decease from any future acts of destruction or rebellion. Expecting his fellow people to support him, Okonkwo kills their leader with his machete. However, when the crowd allows the other Europeans to escape, Okonkwo realizes that his clan is not willing to go to war. Soon after the murder, Okonkwo prideful character, and inability to accept defeat, results in his suicide.