An Analysis of Things Fall Apart
In Things Fall apart, Okonkwo was considered a tragic hero. He used to be a great wrestler, a fierce warrior, and a successful farmer of yams in Umuofia. Shortly after Ikemefuna’s death, Okonkwo accidentally killed someone in a funeral ceremony.
He and his family were sent into exile for seven years. Nevertheless, when he returned to Umuofia, he found himself unable to adapt to changing time as the white men came to live among the village. Okonkwo realized that he was no longer able to function within his changing society.
Consequently, he committed suicide by hanging himself for his final tragedy. His tragic end was led by his character flaws, a betrayal of his clansmen, and the colonization. Okonkwo was impulsive; he acted before he thought without considering the consequence. Furthermore, he isolated himself by exhibiting anger through violent, irrational behavior. He was quick to anger. During the annual week of peace before planning time, tradition permitted no one to speak a hash word to other person in the village.
However, one day during this week, Okonkwo beat his youngest wife, who went to a friend’s house to braid her hair and forgot to prepare Okonkwo’s meal and feed her children. Even he was reminded of the ban on violence, he didn’t stop the beating. However, his fear of weakness and failure also was his tragic flaw. Consequently, he didn’t take the advice that not to participate in the murder of Ikemefuna. Therefore, he actually killed Ikemefuna because he was afraid of being though weak. Moreover, Okonkwo was a man of action.
He did things without considering the consequence. This flaw brought him a serious consequence at the end of the story. After the release from jail, Okonkwo thought about his revenge. He hoped Umuofia will wage war on the intruders. If they didn’t, he would take action on his own. In the next morning, the clansmen were lead to a meeting which was about took action against the unwanted strangers to rid themselves. During the meeting, five court messengers approached the group and said that the white man ordered the meeting stopped.
Without a second thought, Okonkwo used his machete to sever the messenger’s head. However, his impulsiveness drove him to this deplorable condition. The betrayal of the clansmen contributed Okonkwo’s tragedy. As well as things had changed among the village, many people in Umuofia were not entirely unhappy with the white men’s influence on their village. However, the white men brought wealth to the village as they built a trading store for traded palm oil and palm nut kernels. The clans could gain great economic benefit from the trading store, hence the money flowed into the village.
Therefore, not everyone in the village was united against the white men since they had provided a new way for the villagers to profit. With this opportunity, they were willing to accept the white man’s rule because they weren’t willing to sacrifice the new trading community to fight for their independence. People would rather choose peace and money instead of going to the war to against the white men. This change of the clan displeased Okonkwo. His return was not what he had hoped. Moreover, when Okonkwo killed the messenger in the meeting, no one tried to stop the other messengers from escaping.
The clansmen were afraid, and someone even asked why Okonkwo killed the messenger. At that time, Okonkwo realized that the clan would never go to war and the Umuofia would surrender. He wiped his machete and walked away. Nevertheless, everything had fallen apart for Okonkwo. He failed alone. The colonization mainly contributed Okonkwo’s tragedy because they were unfamiliar with Umuofia’s culture. However, Enoch unmasked an egwugwu in the ceremony; his action was determined as a great crime and killed the ancestral spirits.
Therefore, the egwugwu went to kill him, but he took refuge in the church compound. Mr. Smith, who was intolerant in fanaticism, tried to protect Enoch and asked the egwugwu to leave. Rather than hunt Enoch down and kill him, they burn the church. When the District Commissioner returned from trip and heard about the burning of the church, they asked six leaders of the village, including Okonkwo, to meet with him in his office. As one of the leaders began to tell about Enoch’s unmasking of an egwugwu, they were handcuffed and thrown in jail for several days.
However, the DC said the leader would be treated well in the prison, and would be released after paying five or two hundred bags of cowries. Nevertheless, the guards repeatedly mistreated them in the prison. Okonkwo suffered insults and physical abuse there. The way the messenger mistreated him was humiliated. Therefore, he was put into fighting mood. His motivation for wanting revenge and his humiliation in jail were deeply personal. However, the DC was ignorant because he didn’t know the Umuofia’s culture; and he only listened to one side.
If Okonkwo was tolerant and acted with considering the consequence, he might avoid his tragedy. Moreover, if Mr. Brown was not breaking down in health, he would still stay in Umuofia. Then, Mr. Smith would not take over his place. Consequently, the consequential outcome would not happen. Besides, if the District Commissioner could listen to both sides’ explanations or understand the Umuofia’s culture more, Okonkwo would not be put in the prison tragically. Then, he might avoid killing the court messenger. Furthermore, it might help preventing his tragedy from happening.