Okonkwo Character Analysis Essay

Satisfactory Essays
Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, tells the story of Okonkwo, a respected leader of the Umuofia village. He is a multifaceted character who is ambitious, hard working and tenacious. He is committed to preserving his people’s culture at any cost. However, Okonkwo’s beliefs have faults which made him a vulnerable character. Okonkwo grew up with a father who was lazy and a poor provider for him and his family. Okonkwo's determination to be the opposite of his father, earns him titles of his own that helped him succeed. He achieves great social and financial power by embracing these ideals. He was wed to three women and fathered several children, but all of his accomplishments also were his deadly flaws. They created an internal fear of losing his worth and becoming like his father- weak and effeminate. Therefore, Okonkwo morphed into a man with a masculine personality and uncontrollable anger. Okonkwo’s flaws enveloped him and controlled his actions- he becomes resistant and unable to bend with the changes taking place in his village. In Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, the main character Okonkwo self-destructs due to his internal flaws of fear, masculinity, anger and inability to adapt with change.
Okonkwo strived to be unlike his effeminate and apathetic father who was referred to as “agbala” or "a man who had taken no title." (Achebe, 13). Okonkwo bred his internal fear through trying to be the complete opposite as his father- a weak and a failure. Okonkwo takes his internal fear of being a weak to the extreme. Letting it encompasse him and drive his actions. He feels that he must assert his strength at all times or he might lose the respect of his people. Which makes him act irrationally at times like when he participates in...

... middle of paper ...

...The holes within Okonkwo's character are not external as they are very much internal. His flaws may have shed some positive light; respect and honor among his people as well as high status, but in the end the negatives qualities outweighed the positives. His ‘never showing any emotion besides anger; inflexibility; fear of being perceived as weak and, therefore, womanly’ characteristics slowly deteriorated his life away. Okonkwo’s disregard for the consequences of his actions and his disability to make good decisions overpowered his care for the village and his hardworking personality. Okonkwo's committed suicide to end his internal conflicts. Like his father, he died with no titles and no honor because committing suicide in Umuofia is an abomination. Okonkwo self-destructs due to his internal flaws of fear, masculinity, anger and inability to adapt with change.