What Are 4-6 differences between Odysseus from The Odyssey and Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus is a tender man. He dearly loves his wife and son. He has no difficulties expressing his tender love for his family. He is loyal to his family. He is a family man who goes off to war out of duty to his country. 

Odysseus is a patient man. He never gives up his desire to get home. He is steadfast. He continues on his long journey through many obstacles with patients and perseverance.

Odysseus is a secure man. He is confident. He has no insecurities. He is a great warrior who has no fear. He overcomes all of his hardships without bitterness. He uses his intellect and wit to win the war at Troy.

Odysseus is proud of his son. He takes the time to teach him how to control his temper. He instructs Telemachus in controlling his temper. He states that it is easy to be angry. Odysseus teaches Telemachus self control. He teaches him that there is a time to be angry. One must be patient and wait for the right time for revenge. This is the lesson Odysseus teaches his son when Telemachus is  about to fight the suitors.

Okonkwo is an angry man. He does not show tender love to his wives and children. He beats his wives and children to make them strong. He is abusive.

Okonkwo has no patients. He is extremely impatient. He does not take the time to teach his children. Instead he abuses them in hopes of making them aggressive. He despises weakness in others. Of course, his behavior is caused by having a fear of becoming like his lazy, effeminate father.

Okonkwo lives in fear. He is so insecure until he goes to the extreme in trying to prove his manhood. He kills Ikemefuna so he will not appear weak. He is not secure in himself. He has to prove he is manly through aggressive behavior. He beats his wives and children to control them.

Okonkwo does not know how to be a good father. He does not use tenderness and love to teach his son Nwoye. He uses violence and force. He does not take the time to teach Nwoye to be manly. Instead, he uses abuse and anger to control Nwoye. It clearly does not work. Odysseus is a much better husband and father than Okonkwo. 

Odysseus uses reasoning and intelligence to overcome difficulties:

He is a prime example of a Homeric Hero – he exhibits strength, skill, determination, courage, and moral responsibility in his actions throughout the epic, and he is fairly consistent with these traits. His most valuable skill is his intellect, which gets him out of situations that would confound a strongman like Hercules. Odysseus’s strength lies in his intelligence, which enables him to escape from the Cyclops in Book 9 and fool his wife’s suitors near the end of the epic.

Okonkwo uses his physical strength, temper and anger to overcome difficulties:

Out of awe and respect, the Ibo tribe refers to Okonkwo as "Roaring Flame." Fiery of temper with a blazing appearance, Okonkwo puts fear in the hearts of his clan members as well as his own family unit. Okonkwo's huge build, topped by bushy eyebrows and a very broad nose, gives him the look of a tornado on the warpath. His whole demeanor reeks of controlled fury; he even breathes heavily, like a dragon ready to explode. He always appears to be wound for fierce action.

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The Odyssey

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