When Okonkwo was “angry and could not get his words quickly out enough, he would use his fists” (Achebe 2). Okonkwo’s violent personality traits cause him to make very irrational decisions that would later have future consequences. Despite that, his less than perfect tendencies did help him to achieve many goals throughout his life. However, the instances where they worked against him outweigh all other factors. Okonkwo is seen as a very painfully structured man and when something doesn't go according to his structure, it causes him to make irrational decisions.
Okonkwo is a sad character whose pride has constantly led him down the crooked path. Achebe shows that being proud isn't a constructive thing for the future. That development can only occur when pride is put aside, and people think logically instead of
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 was one of the most famous and fearful member not only of his clan in Umuofia but other nine villages as well. He worked hard to become a renowned and prosperous member of his clan and to break away from the legacy of his father Okoye who was referred to as ‘agbala’, a man who has not won any title and was another word for woman. Okonkwo was not an evil man but his life was dominated by fear of weakness and failure which made him extremely violent and aggressive. He hated everything associated with his father- music, gentleness and laziness. But much to the anguish of Okonkwo, Nwoye embodied most of his grandfather’s traits and this enraged Okonkwo deeply.
However, Okonkwo was born to a poor man and certainly was not noble-born. Yet, Okonkwo displays abundant understanding towards the complications and willing to climb the ladder to achieve his success in his young age, which is other common trait in tragic hero. The advantage that he has is in Ibo society, they allow each man to earn their own titles without family inheritance so Okonkwo able to take this opportunity to create his own fortune separate from family bequest. In his young age he is able to have two barns full of yams and also three wives. He does not want to turn out to be just like his father poor, ignorance and nwaanyi (womanly in Ibo).
However, Unoka the grown-up was a failure. He was very poor and was constantly in debt, which means that his wife and children (including Okonkwo) didn’t have much to eat. Unoka was very feminine, having a love for music and a hate for wars and blood. He died ten years ago, still a failure who had no titles and was still in debt. Ashamed of his deceased father, Okonkwo has become the complete opposite of his father.
Things fall apart, it’s in the name. Everything falls apart. And it is because of the arrogance of Okonkwo. He is a very interesting character because not only did he know he was being cruel to everyone around him but that he still decided to do it. We can see this with his “son” ikemefuna on page 28, it says, “ Even Okonkwo himself became very fond of the boy -- inwardly of course.
Now that the readers have a better connection with Okonkwo's family and know that Nwoye was thought to be like Okonkwo's father, Achebe brings forth the feeling of betrayal. “What moved Obierika to visit Okonkwo was the sudden appearance of the latter's son, Nwoye, among the missionaries in Umuofia” (143) With his quote it is known that Okonkwo will feel betrayal, and since the audience is connected to him they know that he will feel betrayed. Achebe once again uses pathos to portray the feeling of betrayal.”How then could he have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate?” (153) It can see from this that Okonkwo believes that Nwoye has disgraced the family name, and Okonkwo regrets having him as a
Okonkwo is the protagonist and tragic hero of this story. He was a man who let the fear of looking weak get the best of him and he ended up doing things he didn’t want to do. His deadbeat father was the blame of how he ended up being in life. His life went downhill really fast. He dealt with things back to back and he didn’t see things getting any better.
Okonkwo’s motivations, character development, and interactions suggest that he is a byronic hero. Okonkwo's rambunctious outburst and defiance of the gods shows his arrogance. In the hero source “characteristics of a byronic hero” its states “In one form or another he rejects the values and moral codes of society..”. Okonkwo's’ arrogance is shown in chapter four when he was being described as “Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half way through. Not even for fear of a goddess.”(Achebe31).