Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 282
In childhood, Chaka learns that might is right. This is presented as a result of his being bullied:
[H]ere on earth people live by might only, and not by right; he decided that here on earth the only person who is wise and strong and beautiful and righteous, is he who knows how to fight with his stick, who, when people argue with him, settles the matter with his stick [...].
The diviner Isanusi imbues Chaka with power through rituals and magical “medicines,” one of which is supposedly from a crocodile’s brain. He tells Chaka
I have vaccinated you [...] [with] the medicine of blood; if you do not spill much blood, it will turn against you and kill you instead. Your sole purpose should be to kill without mercy, and thus clear the path that leads to the glory of your kingship.
Although Chaka spreads chaos in his wake, eliminating his enemies with relentless slaughter, other warriors admire him for his prowess as a warrior; their reverence for his person borders on worship:
Even on the battlefield his men, when wounded and about to die, would request the king, as their last wish, to disrobe so that they might admire his body for the last time, and thus die in peace [...].
Yet Chaka’s power lust is not sated by success or admiration. Even as a child, he wanted to be a famous king. His downfall is foreshadowed by this character flaw:
Now he is very famous and he is a great king. Is it possible he will be satisfied? Never! Now his greed has been aroused, and he is in search of something which even he himself does not know.
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