Okonkwo is a prideful man who does not like admitting when he is in the wrong, because he is like this he decided he would take his fate into his own hands. Okonkwo was so upset that he killed himself. He thought that by killing himself, he would control his own destiny instead of letting the Europeans control him. “I will never let a white cheeked man control my life.” (Achebe 96). This is ironic, because suicide in the Ibo tribe is known as sin, and is a cowardly way to die. Okonkwo's life ambition was to prove himself as a man and to show the clan and tribe members that he was nothing like his “lazy feminine father” (Achebe 18) but when he killed himself nothing that he did his whole life really mattered,
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
At this point of the story, Okonkwo is yearning for war against the Christian missionaries. During a meeting with the nine tribes of Nigeria, he was, “sitting at the edge” (Achebe 204). This exaggeration exemplifies the fact that Okonkwo is ready to cause trouble. Consequently, “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body,” (Achebe 204). His uncontrolled anger led to him physically killing a man. Taking another man’s life just to relieve the built up stress, is an inconceivable way of thinking, and a poor decision on Okonkwo’s part. Without the author’s input of the previous exaggerated statements, the readers would believe that the murder came up from out of the
Going back to the novel, we see Okonwo, who is extremely shocked by the twists which take place in his tribe as a cultural revolution. He sees their ancient religion giving its place to Christianity, and their father’s culture and traditions, which his life was based on, fall apart. To make things even worse, his own son turns his back to him. Okonkwo can not stand this as a result he tries to fight against the people who were the creators of this disaster. But as he fails, he commits suicide, preferring to kill himself, rather than let those strangers kill him.
The disparity between Okonkwo’s true motivations and his warped motivations lead Okonkwo to behave in ways which shocked other members of Umuofia with his apparent disregard for others, but which made sense to him as he saw weakness and Unoka in alternatives. When Ezeudu, a respected elder in Umuofia, informed Okonkwo that the village Oracle called for the killing of Okonkwo’s adopted son Ikemefuna, he asked Okonkwo not to take part. However, Okonkwo not only accompanied them,
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
“He had a large barn full of yams and he had three wives. And now he was going to take the Idemili title, the third highest in the land” (12). Okonkwo was a successful man in his culture and lands far beyond Umuofia. He was prideful of what he had accomplished from a very young age, his culture meant everything to him as he had made his way to the top. He had everything he ever needed, the honor, he was a warrior, and he had made it to the top from absolutely nothing that his own father did for him. Sadly, towards the end of the book, Okonkwo had broken clan rules on purpose and killed himself. “Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead.” (Achebe 207). In this quote, it explains that Okonkwo had hung himself on the tree killing himself even though it went against everything he believed in; bravery, customs, and masculinity. Okonkwo’s personal pride was his response to the cultural collision because he was to stubborn to change his culture. He had shown resistance but also went against the clan rules. Okonkwo’s response to the colonizers shapes the meaning of the work as a whole by his suicide signifying things falling apart since it was the first time he purposely had broken the clan law. This shows that he had been struggling with any type of change in the book and finally he couldn’t adapt to any change. He was a
The destruction of Okonkwo was revealed slowly throughout the books. He started to make some poor decisions, which became the beginning of his downfall. He killed Ikemefuna just because he didn’t want to be thought weak. He made unwise decisions to only appear to be strong and manly to others in the village. He did not realize how he lost so much from living that way. When, Okonkwo kills Ogbuefi Ezedu’s son, the real tragedy begins. Other tragic heroes usually have a steadier downfall, but Okonkwo had a direct fall in society due to this event. This puts his family into exile for seven years. After a short period of time, white missionaries arrive to Umuofia. When “The
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.
Still unable to accept and adapt to the change he encounters, Okonkwo uses a method of violence by killing the messenger from the Christians and at last kills himself. Okonkwo’s suicide marks that he finally meets his fate. He stands for his power, strength, and masculinity and has great pride for his achievement. After realizing that he cannot conquer his chi and escape from miserable events, he gives up his life by
His tragic downfall truly begins when his is sent away because of an accidental murder of a boy. Okonkwo and his family are exiled from the tribe for seven years and Okonkwo is stripped of the fruits of his hard work. While he is away the white missionaries move into the village. They preach against the culture and its violent ways, causing Okonkwo to become saturated with rage. Seven years later, Okonkwo is able to return. He plans to reestablish himself and his position with the help of his family. However, Umofia is not as it once was. The white men have moved in and dismantled the tribe with their laws and government. Okonkwo wishes to fight, but the clan does not agree with his suggestion. After realizing the fate of the village, Okonkwo chooses to take his life. He would rather die than watch everything he had worked for fall apart because of weak people. His tragic flaw, a fear of weakness, is so strong it destroyed him.
When Okonkwo returns to the village, he finds that the white man has moved in, bringing Christianity with him. This is a struggle that shows Okonkwo’s inflexibility and objection to change from tradition. Eventually, Okonkwo slay’s a man working for the British and ends up hanging himself as a result of his actions. Suicide is forbidden by the clan,
He is a man who sees his purpose as a call to lead his community in order to make it the make it the best it can be, and the way he does this is by following social norms of Umuofia very closely. The society that Okonkwo lives in “appreciates personal success” as it pertains to the “well-being of the whole community”(Obiechina 41). Therefore, if Okonkwo sees something that will better his tribe, then he will do anything in his power to obtain that or accomplish what his leaders want. For example, Okonkwo took in Ikemefuna for years, treating him and thinking of him like a son. Although, when it came time for the tribe to sacrifice Ikemefuna, the leaders of Umuofia witnessed Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna because “he was afraid of being thought weak”(Achebe 61). Okonkwo will go to any extent in order to follow the social expectations of his tribe members. Because of this, he can not control himself when he sees his tribe’s traditions being thrown out because of the missionaries and no one is taking any action to change it. After Okonkwo tries to stand up for his community and is ignored, he hangs himself because he would rather die than witness his tribe be changed forever. The tragedy of Okonkwo “is caused not by his deviation from the norms of his society, but because he tries to adhere to these norms too completely”(Palmer
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
In a time of need, Okonkwo decides to improve his exterior image, instead of being the true father that Ikemefuna thought he was. A true father would have put his son before anything else and would have tried to keep Ikemefuna out of such a fatal situation. Lastly, Achebe states, “Obierika, who had been gazing steadily at his friend’s dangling body, turned suddenly to the District Commisioner and said ferociously: ‘That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself’” (208). Okonkwo knows his clan won’t go to war and he does not want to continue to be a part of such a weak clan. Though his life’s purpose was to be nothing like his father, he is viewed as even weaker than Unoka. Since, suicide is “an abomination for a man to take his own life” (207). Through Okonkwo’s actions, the theme is clearly highlighted.