Violence In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1005 Words 5 Pages
Things Fall Apart Essay
Pope John Paul II once said, “Violence kills what it intends to create.” Throughout history, violence has been used as a mechanism to force change by fear. However, in many cases, this power retained from brutality and intimidation is eventually crushed. Use of violence leads to destruction. This is evident in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, as the power of language, the impact of the past, and the influence of fear of human actions are conveyed through the violence prevalent in the murder of Ikemefuna and Okonkwo’s Suicide.
Ikemefuna’s perverse murder was tainted with savagery. This scene depicted the effects of fear on human nature, the actions of the voiceless, and the consequences of the past. First and foremost, Ikemefuna’s murder resulted from the deed done by Okonkwo, out of the fear of being perceived as incompetent by others. “Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.” (Achebe, 61). Within the three years that Ikemefuna had stayed with the family, Okonkwo became a father figure for Ikemefuna. There was not only a relationship between the two of them, but also a sense of trust between the boy and Okonkwo’s entire family, especially Nwoye. “He was like an elder brother to Nwoye, and from the very first seemed to have kindled a new fire in the younger boy.” (Achebe, 52). In spite of this familial bond and the guilt that would follow, Okonkwo resorts to striking the
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The murder of Ikemefuna reinforces the effect of fear on the actions of humans, the heedless behavior of the voiceless a result of a lack of power, and the aftermath of the past. Meanwhile Okonkwo’s suicide displays his hasty decisions based on fear, and his inability to escape his fate. Power cannot be contained by brutality. Violence is the cause and effect of devastation, loss, and

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