Who Is Responsible For Okonkwo's Downfall

782 Words4 Pages
Fear is a powerful tool that if used incorrectly, can control how one lives. Okonkwo’s life is one that is dominated by fear. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart follows the Ibo people, set during the time of the colonization of West Africa, in the town of Umoufia. The protagonist, Okonkwo, is a strong follower of his culture’s rigid expectations and practices. While Okonkwo’s steadfast adherence earns the respect of the townsmen, many detest the cultural expectations and practices they are forced to follow. When Christian missionaries introduce Christianity to Umoufia, many of the Ibo people are quick to convert, including Okonkwo’s own son. This new religion slowly undermines the Ibo culture and religion Okonkwo firmly believes in, leading to his downfall. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s fear of weakness along with the arrival of Christianity causes Okonkwo’s downfall. One of the main causes of Okonkwo’s downfall is his fear of being like his father, who was weak and considered a failure. Okonkwo is told that Ikemefuna,…show more content…
When the new religion is brought over by the white men, Okonkwo strongly opposes to it because he felt that its qualities display weakness and would destroy the Ibo culture. He refused to change and stuck to his old ways, but as more and more of his clansmen convert, Okonkwo sees his world start to crumble. “Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer stand as one” (Achebe 176). His clan slowly divides into two clear-cut sides, but the Ibo people didn’t want to fight back the new religion. As a result, Christianity took over everything, from the government, to the judicial system. Feeling powerless, Okonkwo commits his final act of vengeance and kills a messenger, committing suicide soon after. If the Umoufia had tried to fight back Christianity, they wouldn’t have loss so much power this quickly. This reluctance was due to the absence of
Get Access