Why did Achebe create the character Ikemefuna?I'm trying to find out the purpose that Ikemefuna serves in the story.

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slcollins | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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Achebe created the character of Ikemefuna to act as a foil to Nwoye's character and to highlight the unyielding nature of Okonkwo. Ikemefuna acts as a foil to Nowye’s character in that he (Ikemefuna) is the son Okonkwo never had. Ikemefuna bonds with Okonkwo in a way that Nwoye never did. Okonkwo sees Nwoye as weak and emotional, as he would much rather listen to his mother’s stories than Okonkwo’s war stories. Ikemefuna enjoys Okonkwo’s company and even begins to call him father. Achebe’s other purpose for Ikemefuna is shown in his death. Even though Okonkwo has grown fond of the young man, he still kills him when ordered to. The fact that Okonkwo will obey a decree from the Oracle and kill Ikemefuna shows how traditional and unyielding he is; he refuses to be seen as weak. Not killing Ikemefuna would have made him seem weak. 


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