When Okonkwo was faced with his enemies, he makes a rash decision and kills the messenger. This was a fateful act because it could urge Umuofia to attack the missionaries, but Umuofia decided to not go to war. Okonkwo explains how the white missionaries have come in and converted all the Igbo people into their religion until their own tribes become too weak to fight back against them. The white missionaries described by Okonkwo, “brought a lunatic religion, but he had also built a trading store
Consequently, he was a debtor who owed lots of cowries to many men. “After the death of Unoka, Okonkwo was ashamed to be the son of his father, because in his father’s lifetime, he didn’t take a title or even make a name for himself” (Achebe 8). Yet, the clan didn’t judge a man on the worth of his father, they judged a man’s worth according to his own actions. Unlike his father, Okonkwo was a wealthy farmer who had taken two titles in Umuofia. Furthermore, he had shown incredible prowess as a strong warrior.
Okonkwo’s hard-working character was a result of him trying to be the opposite of his father, a lazy and unsuccessful man. The book says that Okonkwo started with nothing, saying “Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men had.” (18) Despite this, Okonkwo grew to be very successful; he had several barns full of yams and was married to three wives. Okonkwo’s anger resulted from his lust for manliness. The book says “Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion
Okonkwo thought if he worked hard his chi would reward him. When Okonkwo accidentally killed a clan mate, he was exiled from his tribe for seven years. Okonkwo started having self-doubt, thinking his chi was not meant for great things. When his seven years of exile was over, Okonkwo went back home to find that his tribe had been overrun by white men who brought with them a new culture and a new religion. He is furious that his tribe would allow people to continually insult their ancestors and gods.
Okonkwo comes back to find he has lost his spot in the higher-ups of the clan “He had lost the chance to lead his war clan against the new religion, which, he was told, had gained ground.” (171)Achebe uses logos in this in order to give us an understanding of what happens on the punishment side of life. In this portion of the novel, Okonkwo is back in Umuofia, and he finds the tribe has been taken over by the missionaries. “The white missionary was very proud of him and he was one of the first men in Umuofia to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, or Holy Feast as it was called in Igbo.” (174) Ethos occurs in this section because of who is meant to read this. Achebe wants to get his point across to Europeans and the western world; however, they would not read this if the white men were portrayed as evil and inaccurate. By using celebrations and sacraments that actually occur Achebe gains credibility of his work.
Okonkwo is the protagonist, so it makes sense for him to demonstrate a lot of pride which he undeniably does. Okonkwo is constantly bragging and boastful talking about how many men he or Umuofia has killed and is constantly scared to be perceived as weak. An early example of this is in chapter 7 when Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna. He is advised by his elders not to go and just stay at home. But Okonkwo goes anyway, which leads to him killing Ikemefuna because "He was afraid of being thought weak."
Okonkwo saw himself as a child in Ike, he was strong and hardworking. With Ike’s presence around Nwoye started to act more and more like a man each day and this made Okonkwo proud. For once in his life Okonkwo saw his son acting like a man, doing what he was supposed to do as a young man. It was all thanks to Ike acting almost like a big brother, showing Nwoye what to do and how to act. Until one day the tribe came to Okonkwo to inform him that they were going to kill Ike for his fathers actions.
Okonkwo has a response to the collision of his culture. Okonkwo tries to fight the changes made by the Western people. Okonkwo’s response to the Western people trying to bring Western ideas into the Ibo culture are simply trying to fight back at the Western people with violence. Okonkwo is a strong and fierce leader, but throughout the story, he is challenged by the Western people and the cultural collision because Okonkwo is supposed to be the leader of Umuofia. Okonkwo is supposed to fight back for his village and not stop until he gets it done.
The absence of the famed warrior allowed for foreign missionaries from another land to invade, take hold, and reform the lifestyle. Eventually, Okonkwo returned, but to a completely different society changed by the missionaries. Okonkwo developed throughout the novel because of his conflicts with society, which were primarily caused by his ideals of masculinity, his inability for adaption, and his relationships with others. Masculinity controlled Okonkwo’s life, influencing all his decisions and ideas, causing conflict in society. Fear was rooted at the basis of his masculine ideals, as his father, Unoka, the main source of his terror, was a failure in life, taking no title and often being described as a woman.
At this point Okonkwo was done dealing with the Brits and lost all hope in saving his tribe or restoring order to the land. He killed himself as an act of cowardice and as a result of his personal actions. He believed that since they let other messengers escape that they would report to the District Commissioner and thus possibly put his own people in danger of ending up like the people in Abame. All conviction had left him and the British were the ones passionate and full of intensity of keeping order in the Igbo lands of Nigeria. Thus, the act of imperialism was done and the result was a civilization and people changed forever.