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Could you please tell me who is responsible for Okonkwo's death in "Things Fall...

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envy22 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2008 at 6:19 PM via web

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Could you please tell me who is responsible for Okonkwo's death in "Things Fall Apart"?  Is it his father or someone else?

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 18, 2008 at 11:26 PM (Answer #1)

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Okonkwo, like all great tragic heroes, is largely responsible for his own death.  He was out of the area when the missionaries came in because he'd been exiled for killing a man.  That exile meant that he didn't have time to slowly adjust to this new world he found when he came home.  However, that exile was his own fault.  And even more importantly, when he was faced with these white men who were threatening his sense of power and manhood, he reacted as he always did--in anger and out of a fear of being thought of as "less than a man."  So, this insecurity and anger led him to commit the act for which the white man plans to imprison him.

And this is why Okonkwo is truly responsible for his own death... he killed himself.  He committed one of the greatest sins in his culture or the white culture.  His tribesmen couldn't even touch his body when they saw him hanging there.

So, Okonkwo can certainly blame his father for instilling a certain feeling of inadequacy, but it was Okonsko himself who turned that inadequacy into anger, murder, and eventually suicide.

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kajla | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 11, 2008 at 4:11 AM (Answer #2)

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Okonkwo is responsible for his death because he has remained stagnant while his village and family are changing. His entire life was measured against his father so he never established his own sense of identity -- he just wanted to be opposite of his father. With the modernization and evolution of the village he is lost. He wants to force everyone to remain the way they were but he cannot do that. He finds himself expendable rather than necessary.

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thesmartgirl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 25, 2008 at 2:38 AM (Answer #3)

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i feel okonkwo is responsible for his own death because he lived in guilt for killing ikemefuna, and that stayed with him through the whole book . He is fully responsible , he went aganist the tribe and everyone else so he is responsible. 

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north-star | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 30, 2008 at 9:55 AM (Answer #4)

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Okonkwo died long before he hanged himself to the tree. We will be undermining the greatness of this self-made man if we perceive his tragic death with such absurdity. Okonkwo, who used to kill weak men's spirits without even looking at them, was humiliated in detention. The moment he feels helpless in a confrontation is something that has never happened in Okonkwo's life. When his fellowmen failed to live up to his expectations by allowing the other messengers to run away, They proved to him that they are not going to resist the cultural invasion they are suffering from. The moment Okonkwo realised he cannot face the change single-handedly is the moment his pride is totally broken. After his world has been shaken beneath his feet for longer than he could tolerate, his centre could not hold,and Okonkwo fell apart.

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