Violence And Violence In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1185 Words 5 Pages
There cannot be change without someone fighting to keep things the same. In 1890’s Nigeria some members of the Ibo clan embrace this new change, while others, like the protagonist Okonkwo, sternly believe in the old ways of the clan. This is the setting for Chinua Achebe’s greatest novel, Things Fall Apart. One theme of this book is violence. Violence is shown to prove Okonkwo’s strength and dominance of the Ibo clan, but Okonkwo cannot defeat fate. Okonkwo has an excessive fear of being like his father,Unoka, so as a result, he begins at an early age to prove to his tribe that he is strong and brave. As a result, he becomes an aggressive, angry, violent man in trying to distance himself from his father. Okonkwo’s anger and violence …show more content…
The more he achieves, the less he enjoys it because his fear of failure is always there, reminding him that he must continually prove himself to be better than his father. “And so Okonkwo [is] ruled by one passion - to hate everything that his father Unoka [loves]. One of those things [is] gentleness and another [is] idleness” (Achebe 13). Okonkwo beats his youngest wife, Ojiugo, for returning too late to make his dinner. The beating of his wife occurs during the Week of Peace, of which is unheard. This proves that Okonkwo cannot control his violent behavior, or he does not care too. Okonkwo feels that “To show affection [is] a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating [is] strength” (28). Consequently, Okonkwo beats and nearly shoots his second wife, Ekwefi, for the mere act of her cutting a couple leaves from a banana tree. “Without further argument Okonkwo [gives] her a sound beating and [leaves] her and her only daughter weeping” (38). Okonkwo’s violent behavior is spurred on any act that he opposes. The beating of his wives contribute to the work as proof that Okonkwo cannot change who he is, and foreshadows upon his later acts of violence in the …show more content…
Ikemefuna is a boy who is taken as part of compensation for another village 's tribesmen killing a woman of Umuofia in their market. Ikemefuna is taken care of by Okonkwo, and quickly becomes like a son to him. One sorrowful day though Ogbuefi Ezeudu, the oldest man in the village, pays Okonkwo a visit. He informs Okonkwo that the Oracle has decreed that Ikemefuna must be killed. Ezeudu warns Okonkwo not to take part in the boy’s death by stating, “Do not bear a hand in his death” (57). He tells Okonkwo not to take part in the boy’s death, because Okonkwo is his father figure in his life. Okonkwo lies to Ikemefuna, telling him that he will be returning to his home village. During the long walk home with the men of Umuofia, a man attacks Ikemefuna with a machete. Ikemefuna cries to Okonkwo for help. “”My father they have killed me”” (61). Okonkwo does not want to be seen as an agbala, so he regrettably finishes the murder of Ikemefuna. Because his reasoning for the act was that he was afraid of being thought as weak, but the act of violence is not required of him and he still commits it. Consequences include heavy drinking, sleeplessness, and lack of appetite for Okonkwo. He is advised to stay at home because it is a terrible offense to the Igbo culture to kill kin. But Okonkwo determines to prove himself unshakeable. In the proving, he does damage to himself and

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