Religion In Igbo Society

769 Words4 Pages
Igbo society possesses a complex and convoluted culture, in which many of its supporters hold strong judgements and morals about how a society is assumed to function. Okonkwo, being a courageous and diligent follower of Igbo customs, develops many complications when Western society attempts to influence his dedication to his religion. Chinua Achebe conveys the theme of religion and how one’s beliefs could alter their perspective of how a society functions. Okonkwo’s cultural collision represents how his life obstacles (and goals), religious affairs, and his fear of failure may intervene with western society, eventually leading to his downfall.
Moreover, Okonkwo asserts his dominance and authority over his village and family by implementing
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But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw (Achebe 13).
Okonkwo’s fear of failure serves as an indicator that he would stop at nothing to succeed in his beliefs. Similarly, Okonkwo’s accepts his faith as a priority to success. Therefore, when the white settlers arrive in Umoufia, Okonkwo is not able to comprehend the massive changes that they bring along. After Okonkwo’s expulsion, he is determined to rebuild his future on a clean slate, though he is not able to. “He knew that he had lost his
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“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. “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). Western society negatively influenced Okonkwo, to the extent in which he had to commit suicide to avoid punishment. Okonkwo’s cultural collision shapes the meaning of the work as a whole because it highlights the dedication and sophistication of these under-developed tribes, which is what Chinua Achebe is trying to convey to the
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