Things Fall Apart
Achebe’s unique Things Fall Apart can be viewed as one that highlights the idea of an Igbo impressive hero. The text is an analysis of the lead character Okwonko, as representative of an Igbo legendary hero. The term impressive hero frequently describes a character as being bigger than life and who expresses amazing characteristics. When thinking about Greek mythology the best legendary heroes are Odysseus who is worshiped for his virtuousness among other traits, along with Achilles for his valor. In Igbo mythology an example of the supreme legendary hero is Beowulf of the Anglo- Saxon times, in which he represents respectable attributes (Nnolim, 1992).
By considering Achebe’s Okwonko it is discovered that he does not have the character characteristics of an ‘epic’ hero. Certainly the Igbo culture does not acknowledge the concept of an epic hero, but rather focus on the idea of heroism. The latter recommend that Okonkwo can be perceived as a legendary hero within the Igbo culture. Justifiably so, considering that Okonkwo does not fit the conception of being an ideal epic hero however rather correspond to what is thought about Igbo legendary heroism. According to Azuonye Igbo impressive, refers to real males that acquired heroism in pursuing a life safeguarding others in risking their own (Azuonye, 1984).
However Okonkwo while being categorized as an Igbo impressive hero did not appreciate the idea of having a heroic responsibility to society (Lindfors 1991, 17). Indeed the latter use to the notion that Okonkwo classify love with weak point- which is not a perfect of an Igbo legendary hero. In addition, this idea of hesitating to reveal weak point through affection can be marked as the factor for his apprehension toward his duties to others. Hence Okonkwo’s understanding of the Igbo impressive hero was that the hero should not expose compassion, not to mention feel feelings of emotion lest it be anger (Achebe, 2001).
Nevertheless, in the end Okonkwo’s erroneous belief of what describes the ultimate epic hero in Igbo culture will paradoxically result in his down fall. The legendary hero is defined as a great warrior; a role model; a male of intelligence; as self -restraint; a legendary figure and someone who has the ability to cross borders. However the heroes of Igbo society are handpicked people that should achieve wealth through their own effort due to their lack of hereditary kingship. Additionally the epic hero’s commitment is not merely to himself however he is likewise duty-bound to the existence of his society (Nnolim, 1992).
There are many paradoxes with regards to Okonkwo’s character and the hero qualities he represents. The legendary hero is usually born into royalty and wealth, much like Homer’s Odysseus. However in Igbo society, class systems or connections with effective figures does not deem the worth of an individual. What is of excellent significance in Igbo culture is hard work and personal achievement, which is how Okonkwo achieved his effective status in Umuofia (Nnolim, 1992). For the factor that he is a self- made hero, possessed remarkable strength and guts and is commonly respected by many he fits the classification of an Igbo epic hero.
It is likewise for this reasons that Okonkwo enjoyed great recognition not just among his clan, however in neighboring villages also. He for that reason” [c] learly cleaned his hands and so he consumed with kings and elders” (Achebe, 2001). The latter remains in recommendation to the notion that Okonkwo achieved great things through effort, regardless of his absence of abundance. Paradoxically Okonkwo broke down due to the fact that he deemed attainment as the essence for being an Igbo legendary hero. Hence he presumed that for the reason that he asserted supremacy and authority within his clan he did not total up to principles.
Yet in the end it was it was this flaw that eventually led to his end. The function of the Igbo epic hero also requires the capability to balance their feelings which adds to their quality of self- restraint. Usually this idea of revealing emotion is typically viewed as a feminine quality. However in Homer’s The Odyssey there are a few events where Odysseus exposes his psychological side. The latter is highlighted in books 5 where Odysseus wept when he believed he would never ever go back to his partner and boy, similarly in book 16 when he sees his son Telemachus after twenty years (Homer,).
Alternatively what made Okonkwo a true Igbo legendary hero was the capability not to show affection (Nnolim, 1992). Therefore he refused to reveal any feeling except for anger, to his other halves, children in addition to Ikemufuna. As a fifteen- years of age kid Ikemufuna were to cope with Onkonkwo and his family for 3 years. During the three years there established an intimate relationship between Okonkwo and Ikemufuna. Onkonkwo was not only a guardian to Ikemufuna, but he likewise saw in him the ideal kid.
The fore mentioned was for the factor that Ikemufuna showed excellent guarantee of being a strong and brave guy like Okonkwo. In addition Okonkwo despises his own son Nwoye for revealing weakness through his affectionate deeds. An example of the fore discussed is his sobbing for Ikemufuna on the day he was killed. He desires Nwoye to have the exact same drive that he had when he was that age (Achebe, 2001). However Okonkwo is not a motivation to Nwoye which is why he does not conform to what his father considers essential such as his hatred for affection.
It can be stated that he (Okonkwo) has an obsession with manliness and what it requires. He permits his anger to compell him into becoming a ruthless almost inhumane creature which ultimately causes him to go from a heroic figure to an awful hero. Okonkwo’s anger for that reason consumes him which causes him to fall apart (Nnolim, 1992). Nevertheless Onkonkwo’s strong and reliable demeanor is typically the result of his fear for revealing emotion. Additionally, his fear of being thought about a weak-link like his dad causes him to participate in irrational acts of violence (Lindfors, 1991).
Thus, his hatred of showing feeling is another misinterpretation of what shows an Igbo impressive hero, and it was this absence of affection that was the result of his death. When the epic hero honors his gods or in Igbo culture, Chukwu, he not just serve as good example to his society however at the exact same time he is shaping his fate. Igbo men thought in the concept of ‘chi’ which describe their individual spirit. They have a belief that when a guy states yes, his chi says yes (Achebe, 2001). However after the death of Ikemufuna, Okonkwo’s chi was not in arrangement with his destiny.
A fantastic example of an impressive hero as good example is Odysseus. In Greek Mythology Homer’s The Odyssey (Odysseus’ ideologies) were utilized as a knowing tool to teach young men the code of conduct. In thinking about the lead character Okonkwo, it is clear that his cruelty and ruthlessness overshadows his nobleness (Lindfors 1991). The latter can be seen in how Okonkwo interferes with the weak of peace; that makes Obirieka state that” [O] konkwo was not the man to stop beating someone half-way through, not even for worry of a goddess” (Achebe, 2001, 30).
In addition Onkonkwo’s efforts in seeking preference or power in his clan are obstructed due to his absence of belief. Okonkwo can therefore not be viewed as somebody who is a motivation to others. In his book, No Longer at Ease, Achebe asserts that “a male does not challenge his chi to a wrestling match” (Achebe, 1960). The last pointed out recommend that one does not break the dreams of his Chukwu or his god, yet Okonkwo disrespected Chukwu on many events (Achebe, 2001). It can be stated that Okwonko shows the very same attitudes as the Greek legendary hero Achillies. Simply as Achillies defied his god Zeus, Okwonko disobeyed his.
Nevertheless dishonor to a god have damaging effects on your life. In thinking about Okonkwo’s improper habits towards the gods, it is clear that he misinterpreted his responsibility of being an Igbo impressive hero. For that reason his ignorance cost him the favor from the gods and in the end it cost him his life (Achebe, 2001). Therefore, if one refuses to abide by the guidelines of the gods it will be deadly to his fate. For this reason the idea of ignoring ones higher spirit is a revulsion which can have disastrous results on the life of the epic hero, however it will also affect his clan.
The last mentioned is in reference to what an older stated “if one finger brought oil it stained the others” (Achebe 1996, 88). As an Igbo epic hero Okonko’s habits, for that reason figured out not only his fate, but that of his family and broader society. Nevertheless, Okonkwo did not have belief and for that reason he did not appreciate others’ miseries. The only thing that he looked after was his achievement and the concept of showing his manly worth in order to become one of the lords in his clan (Achebe, 2001). In addition much like the lead character Beowulf, Okonkwo ended up a terrible hero (Lindfors, 1991).
After Ikemufuna’s death Okonkwo’s prosperous life began to fall apart after he contradicted the god’s needs of not belonging to the killing of Ikemufuna. Yet Okonkwo’s fear of appearing weak and his desire to show his manhood as Igbo epic hero, resulted in him taking Ikemufina’s life. The latter was especially destructive due to the fact that Ikemufuna sought to Okonkwo as a father figure. However this very same fear would later on lead Okonwko in to taking his own life, which is an abomination to his clan (Achebe, 2001).
In this case, Okonkwo’s suicide can be perceived as a differentiating quality of Igbo culture (Nnolim, 1992). Nevertheless, Igbos’ complicated idea of a hero is also inconsistent to the god’s dreams, as dedicating suicide is perceived as the highest crime versus the gods. Hence a hero can just be a hero in the context and to the level that his society permits him (Achebe, 2001). Appropriately even as epic hero Okonkwo’s actions might not be warranted. However, Okonkwo can in some aspects be perceived as a real Igbo impressive hero.
At his death, Obierika calls Okonkwo” [o] ne of the greatest guys in Umofia” (Achebe, 2001, 208). While he had nothing but decision on his side, he might still accomplish success. His hard work and devotion permitted him to acquire the kind of authority that was equal to the elders of the clan. Okonkwo was likewise a great warrior who might defend and secure his society. However although he had fantastic strength and power, Okonkwo also had the worry of being believed weak (Achebe, 2001). The latter contributed to his misconception of what defined an Igbo epic hero.
Onkonkwo had the impression that to reveal your nerve one needs to be ruthless and to show strength suggested not having remorse, regardless of what the effects might be. However, it was this mistaken belief of and his desire to reveal his worth as a man that causes his death. What is ironic in Ahebe’s Things Break down is the idea of Onkonkwo who falls under anxiety as a result of his guilty mindful for eliminating Ikemufuna. The fore discussed is opposing to Okonkwo’s adamancy towards feeling any emotion except for fear, considering that his anxiety after Okonkwo’s death was as a result of regret (Nnolim, 1992).
What can also be compared is the notion that the title of the novel relate to the lead character’s personality. In the end Okonkwo literary ‘breaks down’. Hence the character symbolizes its title. Nevertheless Okonkwo’s downfall is not necessarily due to his flaws however rather associates with the role of heroism in the cultural belief systems of the Igbos (Okhamafe, 1995). The latter suggest that Okonkwo’s beliefs of what an Igbo legendary hero is were misinterpreted by what it really indicated.
The concept of being an excellent warrior is therefore not the only phenomenon that defines an epic hero. In addition the hero must also perform his heroic duties to himself in addition to his society. Hence for the factor that the hero, Okonkwo had such a strong sense of appreciation for heroism, his desires eclipsed his judgments (Lindfors, 1991). As an outcome he failed to adhere to the guidelines of Chukwu because he did not wish to appear susceptible. Yet at the end of the day it was this fear of weak point that eventually caused his death.