Okonkwo character traits or personality

Okonkwo is the protagonist of Chinua Achebe’s book “Things Fall Apart”. He belongs to the affluent and well-respected Umuofia tribe in pre-colonial Nigeria. Okonkwo is renowned for both his physical and emotional toughness; he has triumphed in numerous wrestling battles and endured a variety of trying circumstances. He has a strong sense of ambition and works hard to succeed and gain influence in his neighborhood. He has made it his mission to get to the position of respected family provider and leader.

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Strength and Courage

Okonkwo is well-known in his community for his physical prowess and has triumphed in many wrestling battles. He establishes himself as a great wrestler, for instance, by defeating Amalinze the Cat, who had been unbeaten for seven years. Okonkwo exhibits emotional fortitude in a variety of trying circumstances. For instance, while being extremely upset by the news that missionaries had arrived in Umuofia, he maintains his composure when his friend Obierika informs him about it.

Read More: Things Fall Apart as a postcolonial novel

Okonkwo is requested to take part in the sacrifice of Ikemefuna, a boy who has been residing with Okonkwo’s family. In spite of his concern for Ikemefuna, Okonkwo finally takes part in the sacrifice because he feels it is vital to honor the traditions of his community. Okonkwo’s ability to make a difficult decision and carry it out is an illustration of his strength and bravery.


Okonkwo’s wish to separate himself from his father, a lazy and unproductive member of their community, is a factor in the development of his ambition. Okonkwo is driven to succeed and uphold his reputation rather than end up like his father. Although coming from a low-income household, Okonkwo is driven to succeed and get the respect of his peers. He puts in a lot of effort on his farm, triumphs in many wrestling competitions, and achieves status and wealth in his tribe. This is an illustration of Okonkwo’s desire to succeed and be recognized. He takes part in village council meetings and is renowned for his opinions. This is an illustration of Okonkwo’s desire to be influential and in a position of authority within his society.


Okonkwo’s pride influences his actions and social communication. While his pride occasionally displays commendable qualities, it also leads to aggressive judgments and disputes with other community members. Okonkwo frequently refuses assistance from others, even when he needs it, because of his pride. For instance, he declines to accept a loan from a wealthy man in his village when he experiences financial troubles as a result of poor harvests because he doesn’t want to be perceived as being indebted to anyone. 

Read More: Okonkwo character analysis

Because of his father’s lack of drive, Okonkwo is embarrassed of any sign of frailty or fragility. He refrains from displaying any actions that can be interpreted as feminine or effeminate, such as love or compassion. This demonstrates Okonkwo’s sense of masculine pride and his anxiety over coming across as frail or unmanly.

Okonkwo accidentally kills a member of his tribe, leading to his exile from his tribe, but he doesn’t take accountability or express regret. He would be able to make peace with his tribe if he were to ask for forgiveness or admit his error, but he is too proud to do either. This is an illustration of Okonkwo’s pride impeding his relationships and his ability to make amends. Thus, it may be said that Okonkwo’s pride is one of the factors that led to his death and the tragedy of the story.

Okonkwo’s weakness:

Okonkwo has a lot of positive qualities, but he also has some flaws. He frequently gets into arguments with other people in his community because he has a quick temper and is violently inclined. Okonkwo’s quick temper and propensity to act rashly when he is upset or frustrated are some of his flaws. He beats his wife during the Week of Peace, which is revered as a holy period of peace in his community. He clearly broke community customs with his conduct, which caused his other tribe members to stop respecting him.

Read More: Post colonialism in literature

Okonkwo’s incapacity to adjust to changing conditions is another flaw. He has a strong commitment to sustaining the traditions and customs of his group and is reluctant to change. This is seen when he rejects the colonizers’ new religion, despite the fact that it might have given him a chance to keep his authority and standing in the community.

Okonkwo makes choices that lead to his downfall because he fears being perceived as being weak or unmanly. For instance, he kills Ikemefuna, a little boy he has come to care for, because he is frightened of appearing weak if he doesn’t. He regrets this choice for the rest of his life, which ultimately leads to his eventual death.


In “Things Fall Apart,” Okonkwo is a complex character because he possesses both respectable traits and weaknesses that ultimately lead to his downfall. On the one hand, Okonkwo is a powerful, brave, and motivated person who strives hard to succeed and earn respect in his society. On the other hand, Okonkwo’s weaknesses are equally important. His tendency to behave impulsively and commit acts of violence is a result of his fear of being perceived as weak or unmanly. He has a quick temper and frequently makes quick judgments that cause him to make errors and alienate his community.

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