A clan leader in Umuofia who is plagued by a shame he feels stemming from his father’s laziness that he uses to fuel his journey to achieve more and more. Because of this, he is a highly respected member of his clan and therefore gains substantial wealth, substantial enough to support a large polygamous family.
However, Okonkwo comes to find that he is cursed by his father because of the shame he left him with. Because he strives so strongly to make up for his weakness, Okonkwo cannot let himself look weak or unfit to turn tribe, leading to decisions made in haste or actions taken too quickly.
Things Fall Apart
‘Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings’
‘Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness’
‘The world is large,” said Okonkwo. “I have even heard that in some tribes a man’s children belong to his wife and her family’
‘To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength’
‘Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father’