In "Things Fall Apart," why does Okonkwo as a modern hero meet the fate that he does?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a modern hero, Okonkwo meets fate when he hangs himself. As fate would have it, Okonkwo's village is falling apart. The things that made him a great hero are no longer a part of his heritage. The Christians have come in and changed the village men's way of thinking.

Okonkwo can no longer depend on the leaders in the village to support his way of thinking. When Okonkwo came home, he expected things to be the same, but the white man had arrived:

During Okonkwo's exile, the white man arrives in both Umuofia and Mbanta. Mr. Brown, a missionary, begins winning converts to Christianity, though generally these are only outcasts or men of low rank. However, with time, the new religion gains momentum. Nwoye becomes a convert after realizing that the new religion will providehim a remedy for the death of Ikemefuna and the twin born children. When Okonkwo learns of Nwoye's conversion, he beats theboy. Nwoye leaves home.

Even Okonkwo's son has defied his father. Okonkwo is losing hope. When he urges the leaders of his village to fight the white man, they choose not to fight. In utter hopelessness, Okonkwo hangs himself. He cannot bear to live under the white man's control:

Okonkwo knows that his people will not choose war.Embittered and grieving for the destruction of his people's independence, and fearing the humiliation of dying under white law, Okonkwo returns home and hangs himself, which is seen as weak and an attack against nature, so much so that others from Umuofia cannot touch his body.