Good And Evil In Things Fall Apart

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In the novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe writes Okonkwo, the main character, as a very complex person who carries both good and evil characteristics. From start to finish Okonkwo’s essential goal is to keep his Ibo culture and society as utopic as possible. The need to fulfill this responsibility leads to Okonkwo’s erratic behavior. The fear of becoming his father, the murder of Ikemefuna, and his suicide portray him as good and evil as he struggles to stay true to Ibo. From the beginning of the novel to the end, Okonkwo’s fear of becoming his father turns irrational. “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (13). Rather than facing his fear head on Okonkwo allows it to dominate him. As the story…show more content…
He commits suicide because his standards of leadership shifted on him. Okonkwo struggles with the change of knowing that the “days when men were men” (200) are over. “Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war” (205). Okonkwo attempted to be his village’s last “real man” until he could no longer be strong. The killing of the colonial officers was his one last try to turn things back to normal. When no one backs him up, Okonkwo realizes that his tribe has changed too much for him to handle and chooses to die by his own hand in the most dishonorable death. He decided to hang himself rather than handing himself over to be hung by the men he thought of as weak. His suicide is an act of defiance in asserting the traditional ways of his tribe but also an act of sadness because those ways are no more. In the end, he is neither a good or evil character, but a man who possess both good and evil traits due to the change occurring around him. The story of the tortoise mentioned that as All of you fell “He fell and fell and fell until he began to fear he would never stop falling” (99). This is significant in noting that the good within Okonkwo felt as if his wrong doing would continue to make him fall. His act of suicide can be interpreted as him putting an end to the evil within
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