What causes the downfall of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart?

Okonkwo's fear of being like his father, anger and violence, pride, and inability to adapt cause the downfall of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart.

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One could argue that Okonkwo's downfall is directly related to his fear of being viewed as weak or becoming like his inept father Unoka. As a young man, Okonkwo was determined to become a successful, masculine warrior and grow up to be the complete opposite of his father. Okonkwo's fear of being viewed as weak and effeminate influenced him to become a callous, violent man. Okonkwo's aggressive, hostile personality leads to several bad decisions, which results in his downfall.

Okonkwo's first significant mistake is beating his wife during the Week of Peace, which is considered an offense against the earth goddess. Okonkwo then becomes Ikemefuna's surrogate father and grows attached to the boy. Tragically, the Oracle declares that Ikemefuna will be sacrificed and specifically instructs Okonkwo to not play a role in the boy's death. However, Okonkwo fears that he will be viewed as weak and kills Ikemefuna against the Oracle's instructions.

Okonkwo's violent actions ruin his relationship with

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 767 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 14, 2019
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