Within the novel “Things Fall Apart,” the author, Chinua Achebe, explained how a warrior named Okonkwo was a victim of himself. Okonkwo was a victim of tragic events that surrounded his life. These events eventually lead him to his fate. Okonkwo had a father who was weak, and he was a failure in the eyes of the men of the village, Umuofia. 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.
Ironically, Okonkwo’s suicide parallels other cultural shifts in this time period; what once was forbidden becomes accepted with the arrival of colonists. As it turns out, Okonkwo’s beliefs, or his inflexible beliefs, represent a poor fit for a culture that slowly becomes comfortable with a more malleable belief system. At the end of the novel, Obierika expresses his anger and disgust at the white men. Through choked sobs, Obierika manages to say, “That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him
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.
Okonkwo is supposed to fight back for his village and not stop until he gets it done. In the story Achebe quotes, “He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father he could stand the look of blood.” (Chapter 2). Okonkwo loved action and violence. That is how he believes things should get done.
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. “He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umoufia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women” (Achebe 183). His sense of identity therefore was affected because he no longer knew what his religion had become. Okonkwo then tries to take matters into his own hands by killing the messenger as one final attempt to save his village, though his actions resulted in an extreme repercussion. “Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead” (Achebe 207).
Rather than being killed by the men he despised he took his own life. Actions have consequences and in killing three people he realized he was not exempt from that rule. Upon his newfound cognizance he took a cowards way out which is also an abomination to their clan. While Okonkwo was an impressive figure to the people of Umuofia because of the warrior he had become for his own self-gratification he died just like his father; titleless. If Okonkwo hadn’t been so petrified of being seen as weak he could’ve lived to be more, but the persona he built wasn’t prepared to enter his new world of an
In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo has a goal of being everything his father wasn’t, a leader. As he is facing difficulties in life, the decisions he’s making for a better cause despite the fear of being seen as weak leads to his death. With the decisions he has made, can he be considered a tragic hero? In chapter 2 page 13, it says “Perhaps down in his heart, Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness.
All that Okonkwo ever accomplished was from fear of becoming his father, which means that he was only thinking of himself and not of others like a hero should. Not only was he selfish but in order to have people think he is strong he was willing to kill a child. Okonkwo is not tragic a hero because of his lack of selflessness and because he
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.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a brilliant novel because of its description of Okonkwo’s fall from prominence. However, even though Okonkwo was a brilliant wrestler, he hated the sullen life of his father, a man who had many debts throughout his life. As a father, Okonkwo fears that his son, Nwoye, is not masculine enough to become successful in the clan. Fear is a recurring theme in the novel, and it plays a gigantic role in Okonkwo’s death. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s fear is the driving force behind many of his actions, including his own death.