Things Fall Apart Character Analysis

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The desire for power is a natural human tendency. This social authority allows people to feel superior to others. In the novel, Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, there is a constant impulse among some of the characters to gain power through prosperity. The story takes place in an Igbo village in Nigeria, where culture and religion have an immense impact on an individual. The main character, Okonkwo, appears to yearn the most to become a powerful and respected man. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo gains power over others by defeating the most distinguished wrestler in a match, committing acts of violence, and increasing his possession of material goods.
Okonkwo first gains the respect of the villages by defeating a well-known wrestler, Amalinze the Cat. A quote from Things Fall Apart reads, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat” (Achebe 1). This wrestler was unbeaten for seven years, until Okonkwo proved his worth in a wrestling match. With this win, Okonkwo gained fame and, most importantly, power in the tribe. This can be seen as an example as one of the many times where Okonkwo asserts his dominance as an effort to become a better man than his father was. All his life, Okonkwo has been shamefaced due to his father, Unoka, and his acts which ultimately left his family in debt. The author writes,

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