Why Did Okonkwo Kill Himself?
He is well aware that he will be imprisoned (and most likely murdered) for murdering the messenger. He’s also a proud man, therefore he loves to do things on his own. Instead of allowing the Europeans to rule him, he takes charge of his own fate by killing himself.
Many reasons could be cited for why Okonkwo killed himself, including pathological fear of being like his father, inability to control his destiny, or Igbo culture. I’ll explore each in turn. Of course, the most straightforward reason could be that he killed himself because he saw no alternative to hanging in a white man’s jail. Nonetheless, there is another reason that may also be of interest.
In Igbo culture, su*cide is considered a grave sin. It destroys the earth and is thus viewed as an evil deed. su*cide is considered taboo because it disrupts the reincarnation cycle. In addition, su*cide is seen as a way to end life. A su*cide ritual may vary depending on the mode of death. Still, it is essential to know the implications of Okonkwo’s decision.
Okonkwo’s actions are a result of his fear of annihilation. He could have attacked the white men or driven them away, but his peers deemed him too womanly to kill the missionary. So instead, he turned the violence inward, fighting the singularity of white men with su*cide. This action saved his life and the lives of his people.
A prominent role is played by the relationship between Okonkwo and his daughter, Ezinma. Ezinma is Okonkwo’s favorite daughter and is the only child of his mother, Ekwefi. Ezinma is considered a perfect antithesis of a typical woman, and her resentment towards her father is evident in how she challenges her father. This relationship reflects that Okonkwo has been married three times in his lifetime. The marriage of Ekwefi to Okonkwo is also the result of a love match between two brothers. She also resists marriage and does not allow her father to marry her during his family’s exile.
Although there are no clear answers to why Okonkwo killed himself, many readers will conclude that the story is a tragic tale about the values of manliness and how the two cultures differ. In the novel, he associates manliness with “foo-foo” (pounded yam), a staple of Ibo cuisine. However, he refuses to comply as his brother asks him not to kill the innocent Ikemefuna.
In Igbo culture, su*cide is considered a crime against the individual and the clan. This is especially true in the case of Okonkwo, whose first harvest is among the worst in clan history. He accidentally kills Ezeudu’s son with a gun, a crime against the earth goddess. In the aftermath, Okonkwo’s family must live in exile for seven years.
The story revolves around a boy from the Mbaino tribe who the Umuofia people murder. The Umuofia men believe that the boy was killed to appease the gods. After the murder, the villagers decide to kill him to restore peace in the village. However, the young boy’s death causes Okonkwo to suffer great depression.
Pathological fear of being perceived as like his father
In Okonkwo’s su*cide note, he describes how he felt a cold shudder at the thought of being annihilated. He imagines the ruins of his ancestral shrine, where the sacrifices of long ago would have been performed. The children, meanwhile, would have prayed to a god of the white man. Okonkwo is a victim of pathological fear of being perceived as weak.
Okonkwo’s su*cide is frequently interpreted as a failure by the white man. However, there is another way of interpreting the event. The white man has imposed a society of conformity and opacity, which is why the Igbo people have always been resentful and oppressive toward their culture. In Okonkwo’s case, the white man has imposed these values and practices upon the people of the Igbo.
It’s not that Okonkwo was cruel, but his life was defined by fear. It was more intimate than the fear of evil gods. It was more personal than nature or the forest. It was his fear of being seen as weaker than his father. And his fear of being judged by others as weak motivated him to kill himself.
Compared to the Fall Apart story, the Iyasere tale is more forgiving. Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna because he is afraid of being seen as weak, just like his father. Although his actions are wrong, the rift between the clan and the author’s character is evident. The Igbo people fear for their survival, and the Igbo religion is deeply rooted in its culture.
Okonkwo has a distorted sense of masculinity. He fears that he will be labeled as weak and unworthy. He kills his adopted son to avoid this fate. And he feared losing his sense of masculinity, a trait that he inherited from his father. And because of his fear of failure, he suffers deeply emotionally from the act.
Inability to control his fate
Okonkwo’s death is a tragic example of the inability to control one’s fate. He had many titles and was highly respected in his community, bringing him inflated self-importance. However, this excessive self-importance was also his downfall, as he ignored the more effective ways to resist the colonizers. Okonkwo’s su*cide shows his inability to be in control of his fate.
This tragic hero’s death is the culmination of the events depicted in the story. It evokes pity in the audience. But his failure is not due to his fault; his excessive self-pride caused it. Unlike his father, Okonkwo believes that he will return one day with a flourish and that his seven years in exile are a waste of time.
The inability to control one’s destiny has been a significant cause of su*cide. Often, it results from mistakes, failures, and frustrations in life. Okonkwo’s su*cide, although it is tragic, is motivated by his inability to cope with life’s changes. In this case, his failure to adapt to the new order caused him to commit su*cide.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a powerful novel about the deterioration of Igbo society and culture. The novel highlights Okonkwo’s plight and the inability to control his fate. In addition, the story focuses on the relationship between Okonkwo and his society due to colonialism in Africa.
Unoka’s words have real significance in Okonkwo’s life. His death reveals that his ego and inability to control his destiny led him to commit su*cide. Okonkwo’s failure to build a fortune was the result of his laziness. The failure to succeed in life also forced him to visit an Oracle who told him that he had failed because of laziness. Unoka died in shame of suffering from swelling and disease while amid the Evil Forest.
While Okonkwo was a heavy-handed leader, he was not his su*cide. His inability to control his destiny ultimately led him to kill his father. This was because he feared being thought weak, and he was afraid of being seen as weak. Regardless of his lack of control over his destiny, he acted based on his fears, not those of others.
Okonkwo becomes extraordinarily wealthy and holds a high position in his community. He also has several wives, three of whom are women. He is a skilled warrior and wrestler, but he fears failure. He equates the word “weak” with weakness. Consequently, he disowns his son. His death also causes a great deal of turmoil in his family.