Who Is Responsible For Okonkwo's Downfall

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In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the, author symbolizes the downfall of the Ibo people by using the character Okonkwo to mimic the causes that are responsible for the destruction of the Ibo culture. He does this by depicting Okonkwo as an arrogant and flawed human who resists change which ultimately leads to his downfall; this is the very same reason the Ibo culture is destroyed. Throughout the book, Achebe uses a variety of literary devices to depict the human condition. Achebe specifically creates an idea about how arrogance alone has the ability to destroy people, families, and in the case of the Ibo, whole civilizations and cultures. Through foreshadowing, Achebe presents Okonkwo as a tragic hero through the use of warnings,…show more content…
He is constantly mentored and is told what to and not to do, however these warnings are ignored which further adds to the tragic element of this story for if warnings are ignored tragedies are created. A very profound occurrence of this is when Ezuedo is warning okonkwo that since “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death” (Achebe 57). This is a warning that is ignored when Okonkwo “drew his machete and cut him down” (Achebe 61). Another way in which Achebe heightens the tragic element of this incident is when Ikemefuna is stuck with a machete; he immediately runs toward Okonkwo screaming “‘My father, they have killed me’” (Achebe 61). Since Okonkwo directly has ignored the warning given a tragedy has been created. Similar incidents appear throughout the book such as when he kills Ezeudu's son. During the funeral ceremony of Ezeudu Okonkwo fires of a round which kills Ezeudu's son while trying to confirm “the authority and decision of the oracle” (Achebe 119) which displeases the earth goddess. This event brings on a sort of tragic irony because in his actions Okonkwo was trying to please the gods yet instead displeased…show more content…
Each and every human has goals set for themselves and the desire to be better. If one believes that they are perfect the way they are there is no left room for growth and development and the individual or mass of people are unable to accept new things. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements” (Achebe 1) Okonkwo wanted to uphold this fact by continuing to be strong and thrive. There is a very particular instance in the book where Okonkwo starts to go downhill and that is when he kills Ikemefuna. His arrogance was the cause for the murder because the reason he killed him is because he did not want to appear weak. The downfall of Okonkwo is very similar to the downfall of the ibo people as both were caused by arrogance. When it is said that “‘The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart’”(Achebe 152) their ignorance and belief that their culture would prevail was wrong. They would have not let the white man become part of their civilization if they had thought there was any way their culture would be destroyed and their arrogance allowed

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