Okonkwo’s worst fear was to be the kind of man his father was, so he tried his best not to let his fear become a reality. With a father like Unoka, Okonkwo didn’t get the start as most young men in the village; however, he worked his way to the position of leadership of the clan. There was only one emotion that Okonkwo showed, and it was anger. This was his only emotion because it was how he expressed his feelings. Okonkwo had to leave his fatherland, but after returning home, he found his home unrecognizable.
But much to the anguish of Okonkwo, Nwoye embodied most of his grandfather’s traits and this enraged Okonkwo deeply. Okonkwo dreads that Nwoye will blot the acclaim and honour he has worked so hard to achieve. Nwoye’s “incipient laziness” was causing Okonkwo great deal of distress and he sought to correct him by “constant nagging and beating” and as a result Nwoye was “turning into a sad-faced youth” (Pg. 13). Nwoye is aware that he should adopt the more masculine traits of his tribesmen, as desired by his father but he still prefers his mother’s company.
There are many different instances that shows Okonkwo being dishonorable. Even as early in the book as page 13, it states how Okonkwo was someone who was feared in his own household by his 3 wives and his children. Okonkwo had a “fiery temper” according to Achebe which led to him to explode in anger when ever there was something that didn't go his way. A perfect example of this was when Okonkwo broke the peace in the sacred Week of Peace “Okonkwo was provoked to justifiable anger by his youngest wife, who went to plait her hair at her friend’s house and did not return early enough to cook the afternoon meal… When she returned he beat her very heavily” (Achebe pg 29). That just shows how Okonkwo does not care about other people's needs and he expects his wives to only be at his service.
“Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 61). His culture expects all men to never show weakness, therefore negatively influencing Okonkwo. Okonkwo uses what his culture taught him throughout the book, even when the white settlers appear. He is disappointed when he realizes that his clan no longer wants to fight the men out of their clan, and rather leave them be.
His suicide at the end of the story seems fitting, for once the culture loses its unique way of life, he has nothing left to live for. Throughout his life, Okonkwo possesses a steady fear of failure. Toward the beginning of the story, Achebe says, “Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself” (13). Internal forces constantly chip away at Okonkwo’s sanity, threatening to destroy him.
Nwoye and Okonkwo had a rocky relationship from the beginning but it only solidified once Ikemefuna was killed. Christianity being introduced to Umuofia showed Nwoye that he had a purpose in life and he didn’t have to be just like his father. Nwoye and Okonkwo had a bad relationship because they could never accept the fact that they had more differences than similarities,this caused them to separate from each other permanently. Stephen Covey said “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” If Nwoye and Okonkwo would have been able to set their differences aside and tried to accept each other then maybe Nwoye wouldn’t have converted to
People owe their lives to the earth so committing suicide is a sin and Okonkwo must have knew this. But his loyalty to the ways of Umuofia are so strong that he'd rather die with being apart of his culture and own beliefs than conform to being a christian. To me Okonkwo is a tragic hero because he fights for a cause he believes in with the tragic flaw of fear of being like his father and even tho some think he died of a shameful death like his father, he died on his own terms and still believing his own
The sensitive and sympathetic side of Nwoye contradicts Okonkwo’s hopes for his son, and makes Nwoye seem more indolent than he actually was. Nwoye reminds Okonkwo of his father, a disappointment to the clan, causing a tense relationship between the two because
Okonkwo had not allowed his father, Unoka to form a personal bond with him. Unoka was considered an Agabal; woman, by the tribes men. Unoka’s lack of merit and utter laziness caused Okonkwo to want to be better than Unoka, and immerse himself in their cultural roles, by becoming a man. The fuel that had fed Okonkwo’s motivation to be a better man was his fear of failure. The author describes this theme, “ Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and ever beyond.
This springs a collision between Okonkwo and Nwoye. Nwoye wants to become Christian and Okonkwo does not approve of what the white men introduced to the Ibo culture. There were other people in the clan like Okonkwo that went against their faith and claimed that everything the Christians believe in was false. Nwoye knows his father has a bad temper and so when Okonkwo found out that he wanted to convert, Nwoye knew that it would cause conflict, and Okonkwo would want to kill him. "Answer me," roared Okonkwo, "before I kill you!"