Aeneas and Okonkwo

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The male protagonists in both the Aeneid and Achebe's Things Fall Apart share a classic predicament--that of the Animus-governed male psyche struggling with fate and the will of the gods while asserting the paternal virtues of dominance and self-reliance, while refraining from the feminine. What do the responses of these characters to the end of their native cultures, and their view of their duty, to the present and the future, tell us about the male principle as a ruling principle in the psyche? The constellation of experiences Aeneas and Okonkwo share when joined, interlace; the role of the Greek pietas in decision-making, the control of cultural gender roles, solidarity as a psyche forming act, how both their cultures accept that a man can break away from a marriage as common law. They even enjoy what psychologist call value judgment conflicts, especially courage and determination versus what Buddhism and Oberika would call right action. Even how women, in both cultures, are nothing without a man, and are manipulated as socioeconomic enzymes, this still persists today. The most striking parallel is how both men are instruments through which the world of the ancestors, fate, and karma speak. Paramount, however, are their divides, which only truly differ in degree, although leading them to different fates-Aeneas struggles with a lack of emotional clarity outsourcing life decisions to the will of the gods. Okonkwo suffers from a lack of emotional perspective leading to all his ill fate manifesting in totality in the form of a gun blast. Quite poetic on Achebe’s part, from the perspective of Buddhist defined karma.
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