Okonkwo and Obierika

            Okonkwo and Obierika, two characters in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, are two drastically different people, yet they share some of the same qualities and beliefs. Okonkwo is stubborn, headstrong, and rigid. Obierika is open-minded, thoughtful, and expressive. Both believe and follow the same religion, and attempt to attain honour in their society. They are friends that are not afraid to criticize one another or point out each other's faults. Chinua Achebe uses these two characters to show the many aspects of Ibo culture through different perspectives, to give the reader a greater understanding.

             Okonkwo and Obierika, two friends could not be more different. They are like night and day or Yin and Yang. Okonkwo is very rigid, closed off, and unwilling to accept those he deemed unsuccessful, ¡§He had no patience for unsuccessful people.¡¨ while Obierika is tolerant, open to change, and willing to consider other people's beliefs and ideas. Okonkwo is willing to follow his people's beliefs and values unerringly and without question. He also fears that he will be thought weak in the eyes of the tribesmen so he becomes fanatical in appearing the pinnacle of strength and manliness. This fanaticism leads him to kill his surrogate son, Ikemefuna, as it was the will of the Gods. .

             ¡§He heard Ikemefuna cry, 'My father, they have killed me!' as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.¡¨.

             Okonkwo's fears of weakness lead him to do a great many things that ultimately mean his own downfall. Okonkwo and Obierika's beliefs often differ. When Okonkwo took part in the murder of his son, Obierika believed that he was wrong to do so. ¡§ If I were you I would have stayed at home. What you have done will not please the Earth. It is the kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families.¡¨ Okonkwo is unwilling to say what he thinks if that thought happens to go against a belief or value of the tribe, whereas Obierika is often willing to say what he thinks.

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