Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1248 Words5 Pages
How Okonkwo’s personality was his downfall Things Fall Apart is an imperialist novel at the turn of the 20th century. Author, Chinua Achebe, creates characters that experience tragedy at a time of rapid colonization and change in Nigeria. The tragic hero in this story, Okonkwo, who is threatened by rapid movements of the European empire colonizing in Nigeria, is also threatened by becoming like his father. Okonkwo battles internal conflict, and his character falls apart as his personality and morality plummet. Okonkwo’s downfall is responsible for his own character development. As he tries hard to prove that he is not like his father, Okonkwo does more harm than good. As colonists move in and try to take over Okonkwo’s tribal homeland in Africa,…show more content…
His consequence to his own actions shows that he was already going to ignore the colonists to their village, “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceable with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and or clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart”( Chapter 20, pg. 152). Okonkwo’s want to be the best, showed in his early life when he defeated the great wrestler of his tribe. This showed his dominance over the other men in the tribe, and already Okonkwo is pushing farther and farther away from the feminine figure that represents his father. Okonkwo’s psyche drives him over the edge into not succumbing to the fear of becoming his father and pushes him over the edge into doom. Okonkwo needs his town of Umuofia to remain unchanged and untouched because with change brings Okonkwo’s fear of losing self-worth. After Okonkwo accidently kills another member of the Umofia during a funeral ceremony he is banished for seven years. Although he felt pain in leaving the tribe, he seemed to already know as his imprisoned mind doesn’t argue with his punishment. As his personality presented himself, he had high expectations about returning to the tribe after his banishment. After returning to Umofia, and Okonkwo found out that his environment was completely changed, “it seemed as if the very soul of the tribe wept for a great evil that was coming-its own death”(172). Change is something that most people find hard to adapt to, even if it is familiar. For Okonkwo to survive he would have needed to quickly adapt and change to a belief he didn’t believe in. Instead, Okonkwo self-destructed because his character couldn’t handle it. As Umofia traditions changed and adapted to rapid colonization, Okonkwo couldn’t keep up with the rapid change and therefore died with the
Open Document