In Things Fall Apart, what message did Ogbuefi bring to Okonkwo? Why?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ogbuefi Ezeudu, the oldest man in the village, comes to Okonkwo's compound to give him a message. It is clearly important but also clearly just for Okonkwo as he refuses to join the meal or participate in the usual customs of a guest. He asks Okonkwo to come outside so that he can speak to him alone. Once they are away from anyone else who could hear, Ogbuefi tells Okonkwo:

"That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death."

He is of course speaking about Ikemefuna, the boy who was given to Okonkwo from the village of Mbaino as compensation for the murder of a daughter of Umuofia. It had been decided by the Oracle that Ikemefuna must die but Ogbuefi wanted to be sure that Okonkwo did not participate directly in the killing given the bond that had been formed between the two. Unfortunately, Okonkwo cannot accept the advice when it comes time as he is once again afraid of appearing weak.