European Christian White Men
“Things Fall Apart” is a novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. This novel is about the tragic fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo was once considered the greatest warrior in his village and he was respected clan leader in Umuofia. Okonkwo’s tribe is a powerful clan, skilled in war with proud traditions and advanced social institutions but thing has change when he came back to Umuofia after his exile and he commits suicide by the end of the story because of the changes of their tribe. It is a disgrace to commit suicide in his tribe. For all his life, Okonkwo feared dying like his father without honors at his burial. Okonkwo lives his life as a hard-working man who was a great leader and warrior in his tribe, Okonkwo dies in a disgraceful manner. Okonkwo’s motivation for hanging himself is because of his being hopeless. Okonkwo ends his life because of the fear becoming like his lazy father. Okonkwo commits suicide because he cannot stop the changes that are happening in his village
The first reason why Okonkwo hangs himself is because of being hopeless, “He knew that Umuofia would not go to war” (Achebe 205). In this quotes, Okonkwo lost hope because he knows that the people in Umuofia will not be longer go in the war.He cannot get his tribal men to fight the European Christian white men who have come in their community to take control and change his village traditions. He feels that his tribe will not agree to his decision to make fight against the white missionaries.Okonkwo's spirit is always ready to fight for what he believed but no one would support him. He realizes that none of his clansmen in Umuofia support him and he can't save his village from the British colonists without them.He knows that everything is over and that he has no chance of starting and wining a fight with the white men. He realizes that he will never be able to drive the white men out of Umuofia because his clan will not fight with him. Okonkwo thinks that the commissioners defeat him. Okonkwo is well known as a man who doesn’t want to be defeated by someone but in the end of the novel, he feels that the commissioners defeat him so he decided to kill himself. Okonkwo is struggling to achieve success in their traditional world. Okonkwo feels that no one follows him as a leader and all the people of his community accept the commissioner to their tribe, this is why he lost his hope of driving out the British from his place and also this is one of his motivations for hanging himself in a tree. Okonkwo’s traditional world has been destroyed, and Okonkwo does not want to live in a new world. He believes he is bringing peace and civilization to the Igbo people, but in fact he has systematically destroyed many aspects of Igbo life.He feels he has no other option of release from the power of the white men so he hangs himself. With a feeling of hopelessness, Okonkwo gives up and ends himself.
The second motivation of Okonkwo to commit suicide is because of the fear becoming his father, “When Unoka died he had taken no title at all. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo ashamed of him?” (Achebe 8). Unoka, father of Okonkwo, had died without any title and without honor from his tribe. Okonkwo doesn’t want to be his father who dies without a proper burial. All Okonkwo’s want is people in his tribe will be burying him properly as they respect him as a leader and they will honor him because he once become a hero to their community. Okonkwo doesn’t want to live anymore because he knows that if he is going to continue his life with the commissioners in his community, the commissioners probably remove him as a leader to his community. He wants a high position to his society because all he wants are fame and power but he could no longer do that because of the commissioners who control their community. He gets jailed, humiliated and he realizes that he would rather not live in a society like this. He used to be the king and now he cannot bear to live as a commoner like his father. Ironically, Okonkwo’s worked hard to achieve many titles and honors in order to be buried with dignity, in the end, he commits suicide which is an abomination in his society and he dies like his father. Okonkwo becomes that which he was trying to avoid becoming, a disgrace to his clan like his father.Okonkwo decides to kill himself because he doesn’t want to be buried like his father who dies with no titles and without honor.
Lastly, Okonkwo commits suicide because he cannot deal with the changes that the Christian white men are making in his village,” Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not just a personal grief. He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart” (Achebe 183). He realizes that Umuofia is much change and he is not as important and famous as he used to be before his exile and the tribe overtakes by commissioners from Europe converting the people in Umuofia from Christianity. The white men from Europe come in to civilize the Igbo tribe. Okonkwo could not handle the changes in their society. He doesn’t want to accept to the changes of his clan and nor be control by the white men. If he stayed under their rule he would seem weak, so he ends himself because he doesn’t want to live with the changes and under the new rules in his society. He wants to return back the old ways of living of people in Umuofia and he wants a peaceful life in Umuofia but he couldn’t do it anymore because it is now too late for him to make it and things has fallen apart already. Okonkwo lost his life because the Christian white man came in and forced his way of life on a people who had already established their own way of living. Due to the fear of changes, he commits suicide by hanging himself to a tree.
Therefore, despite his hard work and determination to receive all the titles he can achieve, Okonkwo dies with a disgraceful manner. One of the motivations of Okonkwo for hanging himself in a tree is because of being hopeless to bringing back the peace of his village. Okonkwo’s second motivation for ending his life is because of the fear of becoming like his father who dies with no titles and without honor. Also, Okonkwo commits suicide because he cannot handle and manage the changes happening to his village by the commissioner. Overall, Okonkwo has the determination to overcome his pre-determined destiny but in the end, he could not escape the deathly fate similarly to his father.