Theme Of Honor In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

In the book “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, the main character, Okonkwo, centers his life on the concept of honor. Okonkwo’s believes that honor can only be achieved through glory, masculinity, and gaining power over others. Even in his youth, Okonkwo was determined to be one of the most honorable men in the village and to not live the life of his father who was a complete failure. He based his life upon fighting, blood, and money because his father was weak and feared the sight of blood and had many debts. “Whenever the thought of his father’s weakness and failure troubled him he expelled it by thinking about his own strength and success” (Achebe, 66). Okonkwo is so apprehensive about becoming even slightly similar to his father that…show more content…
However, Okonkwo’s honor was diminished at the funeral of Ezeudu, when his gun accidentally misfired and killed a clansman, and he had to flee the village to his mother’s land. He spends the rest of his life being discontent with the exile, even after he is accepted back into his village seven years later, because his goal in life was to be successful, influential, and honored. He is also angry that his clan has become “womanly” after they openly accepted the white missionaries into their village. His unhappiness leads him to…show more content…
From Cleopatra’s standpoint, she was honorable with her death. However, from the standpoint of “Things Fall Apart,” Cleopatra would be considered disgraceful because a one taking his own life is considered an abomination. Once Antony had died, Cleopatra believed there was nothing else to live for, and she would eventually be a slave to Caesar. She took her life to save Caesar from destroying her honor. However, she was dishonorable in several of her actions before she died including having an affair with Anthony. Each of Antony’s and Cleopatra’s views of honor seemed to stem from pleasure and power.
Goethe’s book, “Faust,” takes a different approach on the value of honor. In the previous books I have described, honor was measured by how much power a person had in one’s strength or glory from battle. Faust views honor as one’s capacity for knowledge. However, all of the books believe honor can also be achieved through
Get Access