The aims of this essay is to analyze the novel “Things fall apart” and show the events that lead to Okonkwo’s downfall.
The downfall of Okonkwo began when he first beat his wife during the week of peace; Okonkwo accused his younger wife ojiugo of negligence and severely beats her up and therefore breaking the sacred week. This was an event that first contributed to the downfall because Okonkwo knew that this week was not to be broken and if one had to do it, he or she was supposed to be punished. Another event was when he had beaten his second wife during a new yam festival; moreover, he had suppressed anger and was looking for an outlet. This happened when Okonkwo’s second wife merely cut a few leaves off the banana tree to wrap some food, Okonkwo came to the site that and according to page 34 “He gave her a sound beating and left her and her only daughter weeping.” This was the beginning of Okonkwo’s downfall; he had too much anger in him in that he made mistakes due to his suppressed anger.
Okonkwo had fear of failure and being called weak as his father, thus, it caused trouble in his life when ikemefuna the prisoner who stayed at Okonkwo’s house was killed. Okonkwo considered ikemefuna as one of his own sons. However, in chapter 7, the oracle of the hills and the caves pronounces that ikemefuna should be killed, and the oldest member of the clan informs Okonkwo of this. Okonkwo has an obsessive fear of anything that can be associated with the image of his weak, lazy and gentle father whom he always considered a failure. But Okonkwo as an ambitious man who has become a successful, respectable warrior of the clan by his own triumph because of this obsession he wanted to take part in the killing of the boy but this older clan member forbids him to do so.
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However, he persisted and he himself killed the poor boy. Obierika predicts that such action will lead to Okonkwo’s downfall by saying “what you have done will not please the earth. It is the kind of action for which the Goddess wipes out whole families. There were quite a few efforts on Okonkwo from that horrible event at first Okonkwo was not able to sleep for days. He also kept on getting drunk, and that was a sign that he was miserly and his family would look at him as if it were his fault that ikemefuna was killed.
Furthermore, after an interval in which we see the self-repressed side of Okonkwo as a loving father energetically helping his daughter overcome fever and a recurring illness, again disaster befalls him: this time he accidentally kills ezendu’s son with his own gun during the man’s funeral. This was the same man who announced that ikemefuna should be killed but warned him not to do it himself. The death of ezendu’s son was a crime against the earth Goddess, as it was the killing of clansman because of this he was forced into exile for seven years to his mother’s village. All of his huts and animals were burned to the ground in order to cleanse the land of his crime.
Therefore, Okonkwo‘s life falls apart when he was thrown out of the clan for seven years. From these events, one can see that Okonkwo’s hopes dreams have begun to fall apart the hopes of being a rich and popular individual had drifted away with this disturbing incident. Okonkwo had no longer had his farm or animals. Also, Okonkwo lost faith in most of his friends. This goes to show that Okonkwo lost faith in his friends like his father lost faith in his.
In addition to that, another episode that showed the downfall in Okonkwo’s life was when nwoye, his oldest and favourite son converted to the white man’s religion, Christianity. To Okonkwo, this was very upsetting because nwoye was his eldest son, and Okonkwo had the greatest expectations for him. When news came to him that nwoye was among the white men one could have foreseen that only no good was coming to Okonkwo after that. Okonkwo kills himself after coming back from exile only to discover that the white man who came with a foreign religion is very close to his son nwoye. His son also is part of the new religion; this upsets him and decides to take his life.
In conclusion, Okonkwo’s downfall was caused by no one else other than himself due to his pride and always trying to be number, for instance, the beating of the wife during the week of peace, the killing of ikemefuna who considered him as his father and many other scandals that have been mentioned in the easy.
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