In his novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe uses one human emotion to display the strengths and weaknesses of his protagonist. Okonkwo is a very proud man. He yearns to be thought of as successful according to the standards of his tribe. This same emotion causes the character to act in ways that the Igbo consider incongruous. This stubborn male pride is the primary force at work in Okonkwo; it allows him to prevail and yet is equally responsible for the character’s demise.
18). The shame of a father like Unoka drove Okonkwo into the passion of being nothing but successful in his life. Everything about Okonkwo had to be acknowledged and respected whether be his family or the people in the village. The true hatred of his father derived his power when the author stated, “Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness” (pg.13).
He built his comfortable life from the ground as a young man- His fear of becoming soft hearted and unproductive as his father was drove him to become great. Therefore, he works toward being the polar opposite of these things. It shows in his harshness toward his three wives and children. He is a callous and violent man, and he acts too proud to express any positive emotion toward the ones he loves. However, Okonkwo’s stable life becomes unhinged when a daughter of his tribe is murdered, and the neighbouring village who is to blame must sacrifice a young man, Ikemefuna, who his sent to live with him.
In chapter three Okonkwo is seen as an industrious farmer who impresses his clansmen with his hard work that he wins their trust. A farmer and friend gave to Okonkwo a total of 1200 seed yams to plant, but due to a devastating drought and terrible down pours only a third of his harvest makes it. His father tried to console him but Okonkwo said "Since I survived that year,' he always said I shall survive anything.' He put it down to his inflexible will." This was indicative to Okonkwo's character that he was always a man of hard work, a man of action within his Iguedo village.
His father is unsuccessful, accumulates lots of debt and cannot provide to his family. He sees his father living this way and sets out to be more powerful than him. “Among these people a man [is] judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father” demonstrates that every citizen has the right to make his own reputation and have his own start at life (Achebe 8). This is significant to Okonkwo because even though he had a rough childhood he can make it different for his own family and can gain the respect of others on his own. Eventually, he does this by defeating Amalinze in one of the fiercest fights in history and his fame among the citizens spread.
“Before I kill you.” (151). He wonders how could he every raise such a weak and “feminine” son. The Attitude that Okonkwo gave to his connections determined what kind of outcome he generated. In all of the relations Okonkwo showed him from one side and cant accept his real feelings towards his relatives and the transformation of his culture, and the inability to accept something they way it is and not only living by your rules and principles, which lead to self-destruction.
Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Okonkwo, as presented by Chinua Achebe in the novel Things Fall Apart, wished to be revered by all as a man of great wealth, power and control--the antithesis of his father. Okonkwo was driven by the need to exhibit utmost control over himself and others; he was an obsessive and insecure man. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was "a failure," "a loafer," and "People laughed at him" (1426). This would bring great shame to any man as it did for Okonkwo. In Umuofia "a man is judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father" (1427).
This means that he works hard, provides for his family, is brave, and masculine in every way. Okonkwo is successful in many ways. He becomes very wealthy, holds a high-ranked position in the community, has three wives, and is known for his skill as a wrestler and warrior. But you will find that even through all of the positive qualities, his fear of being like his father is forces him to make some unnecessary and harmful decisions. His fear of being like his father leads him to assist in the murder of Ikemefuna – who was like a son, to beat his wives, is emotionally distant from his children, and to disown his oldest son.
Okonkwo is respected because of his hard work. The complex patterns of Umuofia's economic and social customs materialize throughout this novel as we see Okonkwo compelled to rid himself of any similarities that his father had. Unoka had no titles, was lazy and when he died was greatly in debt. Some may wonder how a society like the Ibo's functioned, how they enforce
Okonkwo is one of the most powerful men in the Ibo tribe. In his tribe, he is both feared and honored. This is evident by this quote, "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond... [He] brought honor to his tribe by throwing Amalinze the Cat..."(3) This suggests that in Okonkwo's society, power is attained by making a name for yourself in any way possible, even if that means fighting and wrestling to get your fame. Although honor is a good thing, when people have to fight to gain it, it becomes an object of less adoration. Okonkwo's "prosperity was visible in his household... his own hut stood behind the only gate in the red walls.