What does Okonkwo and Obierika's argument at the beginning of chapter 8 reveal to us about Okonkwo?
The argument between Okonkwo and Obierika reveals that Okonkwo is a man who believes in traditional Ibo definitions of manhood. Also, the argument highlights Okonkwo's combative and stubborn nature. He is a man who rationalizes his ruthless actions because they support his entrenched attitudes about masculinity and fatherhood. Above all else, he is most afraid of appearing weak and effeminate.
In Chapter Eight, the only reason Okonkwo goes to visit Obierika is because he is still grieving for Ikemefuna. Since the harvest is over and the new planting season has not yet begun, Okonkwo cannot hide his misery in his work. So, he resorts to conversation. However, his old friend admonishes him for participating in Ikemefuna's death. Okonkwo tries to defend his actions by arguing that it was the Oracle who had ordered the young boy's death and that he was merely carrying out orders.
Obierika asserts that, if he was Ikemefuna's guardian, he would have respected the Oracle's order but declined to participate in the killing. Meanwhile, Okonkwo himself is too vested in being right to agree with Obierika; he is so focused on protecting his masculine identity that he is not able to admit any wrongdoing on his part. The argument highlights Okonkwo's deep need to be unlike his father, a man Okonkwo had considered effeminate during his time on earth. In fact, Okonkwo is so deeply ashamed of his father's memory that he will not entertain the thought that he has wronged both Nwoye, his son, and Ikemefuna, the young man who had looked to him as his guardian.