Things Fall Apart, Achebe's Odyssey

964 WordsFeb 16, 20064 Pages
In Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, the impact of British Colonialism in Africa is critiqued through the story of an Igbo man, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is an extremely masculine man who has but one fear, the fear of being weak. Throughout the novel, his actions are motivated by this fear which defines him characteristically as on overly masculine man. This over masculinity is Okonkwo's flaw and it drives his moods and actions, ultimately leading to his demise. In this respect, Okonkwo plays the role of a tragic hero driven by his flaw which leads to his downfall. Okonkwo, like the tragic hero's of Greek myth, was driven by a personal flaw which motivated his life decisions. He always had to be superior to others because "his life was…show more content…
He had let his anger overtake him and would have to pay dearly. When the District Commissioner went to Okonkwo's home to arrest him, he found a number of Igbo men in Okonkwo's hut who led the British man to Okonkwo's body hanging from a tree. Okonkwo had taken his own life because he had failed himself. His own flaw had led him to murder a British messenger which was punishable by death. Instead of waiting for the District Commissioner to take him away, he committed the most terrible Igbo act and took his own life. As stated by one of the Igbo men from Okonkwo's hut, "It is an abomination for a man to take his own life" (p. 207). Okonkwo had come to this perilous situation by his own fault. His tragic flaw had led him to this lose-lose situation, and in the end, he ironically chooses the cowardly path. For a man who had defined his person by his masculine actions and his drive to succeed, he had arrived at a situation where there was no way out. Though there is irony in the way that Okonkwo commits suicide, he chose the way in which he would leave the world and did not allow the British Colonizers to end his life. He was a proud individual and would not let such a thing happen. In this action, there is respect for him, yet one must look at how he arrived at this situation. It was through his own faults that his life was doomed. And this fault lies in his ever present desire to be a successful, dominant, masculine man in his
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