to what extend okwonko is responsible for his own downfall i things fall apart?


Chinua Achebe

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In 'Things Fall Apart', Okwonko is the protagonist of the story and an individualized figure. At the same time he also is a symbolic figure whose virtues and failings are the virtues and failings of his people and of his tribe; and whose history parallels the history of his tribe. Thus Okwonko's downfall marks the downfall of his own tribe. There were many strengths in the Igbo people, which were worthy of note. Their prowess in war, their ability to work hard, their sense of community which made them help one another to make good, their sense of fair play and justice. As long as this culture was not threatened by outside forces, it could stand strong. However, with the coming of the white man, things began to change and the culture came under threat. The Igbo people had either to adapt or disintegrate in the face of a more powerful force. Okwonko's downfall was occasioned by his inability to adapt. He was rigid and would make no concessions towards the new culture, new religion or changing times. This inability to adapt was reflected in the Igbo culture, which was destroyed in the process. If the Colonisers had never come to his land, Okwonko would have lived and died, a respected and exalted figure in his own tribe. But just as Okwonko could not accept the new reality, so too the Igbo culture could not do so and so both were destroyed in the end. 

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