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
From the very first sentences in the novel we see Okonkwo as this very strong and successful man, he is the epitome of “manliness” In the Igbo society. He became who he was by seeing his father, Unoka, as a failure who held no titles and couldn’t feed his family. Okonkwo was determined to be nothing like him as we can see on page 7 “When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of hem?” This drive to be the manliest man possible led Okonkwo to do some very brutal things like take five human heads in war. He even killed his adopted son, Ikemefuna, in fear of looking weak to his clansmen.
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
Okonkwo’s hunger for power is greater than any others in the Umuofia village. Okonkwo’s thirst for power is greater than just doing it for publicity and for the people. Okonkwo endless hard work to gain titles is personal for him. Okonkwo wanted to be nothing like his father Unoka since he was a child. Unoka resembled all the things Okonkwo was not such as weak, a liar, cheap, couldn’t take care of his own family, and considered a women to the rest of the clan members. Okonkwo rarely speaks about
When Okonkwo killed his son Ikemefuna he had tons of regret and grief about it. Okonkwo is someone who usually deals with his problems with violence, but
Okonkwo also tries to show himself as an unsympathetic character to show that he is not a weak man, like his father, Unoka. (Being a weak man is a very degrading quality for the culture of Umofia.) An example of Okonkwo’s unsympathetic personality is Ikemefuna’s death. Although Okonkwo treasured the presence of the adopted buy, Ikemefuna, Okonkwo contributes the last and fatal blow to Ikemefuna, causing him to die in the Evil Forest. Okonkwo, regardless of his love for the boy, killed Ikemefuna ultimately to prove his manliness and strength to the tribe, a valued aspect of the culture. “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body.” (Achebe 146) Okonkwo is also very unsympathetic in regards to his father, Unoka. Unoka was a poor man who was always in debt; he had an interest in music and enjoyed talking.
Okonkwo's violence in this novel says a lot about his character. The acts of violence keep the story interesting and also aid the development of the theme. There have been numerous occasions of violence that clue us, the readers, what kind of man Okonkwo is as well as how their culture is. Not only do these acts make this story one worth discussing, it makes it one worth reading.
After a village elder had found what crime Okonkwo committed, he told Okonkwo that, “you are not a stranger in Umuofia. You know as well as I that our forefathers ordained that before we plant any crops in the earth, we should observe a week of peace in which a man does not say a harsh word to his neighbor” (30). The elder proceeded to give Okonkwo instructions on how to attempt amends with the goddess. After a single action was taken, his proceeding efforts were nearly non-existent. Any attempt to fix the situation were minimal, as were efforts to learn from his mistakes. Furthermore, Okonkwo advances to partaking in the death of Ikemefuna. The relationship between the two is complicated, but is closest description is that of a boy and his step-father. Killing Ikemefuna is not an evil against the earth, as beating a wife during the week of peace was, but a crime against himself. He is unhappy with himself, and still does nothing to fix his ways, continuing on to single handedly killing a boy at a funeral. Although accidental, Okonkwo was still the man behind the gun. “It was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land….he could return to the clan after seven years” (124). Okonkwo had no choice but to leave for the seven years, perhaps upon his return
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
First, Okonkwo is a controlling gentlemen. He wants to be nothing like his father, him and his father are very different. During the week of peace Okonkwo beats his wife. He beats his wife up because she was braiding her hair instead of
Okonkwo and Walter may or may not have achieved it, but while their eyes are fixated on their end goals for success and what they are gaining, they overlook their losses. Because of Okonkwo’s fear of being regarded weak, he often acts overly aggressive to demonstrate his masculinity. Examples of his acting aggressive and cruel fills the entire novel. The first incident is his beating of his wife Ojiugo during the week of peace. No violence is permitted during this week, but Okonkwo breaks the laws only to establish his dominance in the house. Afterall, he cannot be “like the man in the song who had ten and one wives and not enough soup for his foo-foo” (Achebe 57). This incident is an indication of Okonkwo’s disregard for tribal laws because of how less they weigh than his masculinity does in his heart. After already losing respect for the Igbo cultures and customs, Okonkwo continues on losing a dear son. Ikemefuna is captured from
Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was "a failure," "a loafer," and "People laughed at him" (1426). This would bring great shame to any man as it did for Okonkwo. In Umuofia "a man is judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father" (1427). In Umuofia "achievement was revered." Okonkwo became obsessed with the need to prove to everyone that he, unlike his father, was a man
Okonkwo is also incredibly aggressive. He regularly physically abuses his nuclear family and does so to make himself seem more masculine. His violence in order to protect his fragile masculinity goes to the extent that “his wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper.” (2.12) After the missionaries arrive in Umuofia and Okonkwo’s
Okonkwo thinks he is the owner of his household and he shows no mercy to anyone who angers him. “He ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives…lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness.” (Achebe, Chapter 2, p.8). Okonkwo beats his children and wives because of his temper which is influenced by the Igbo society; he puts on a hard exterior because he is afraid of being weak and unsuccessful. At one point, he attempts to kill his second wife with a gun because he thinks she is the cause of a tree’s death. In order to prove his power and strength, without thinking of the consequences, Okonkwo beats his youngest wife during the week of peace - a week when the village celebrates peace and who ever disrupts the peace will be punished by Ala, the earth goddess (Lycos, online). “His first two wives ran out in great alarm pleading with him that it was the sacred week. But Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for the fear of a goddess.” (Achebe, Chapter 4, p.21). Okonkwo lives in a male dominant society where men are pressured to be strong and successful; because of these influences, Okonkwo develops an inner