Free Will and Fate: Things Fall Apart

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Fate and Free Will

The idea about free will and fate is still unsolved and debatable throughout the world. Some claim that humans have their own power to create their own destiny, however, others argue that they are inescapable victims of fate. The novel, Things Fall Apart, portrays the relationship between human’s determination to succeed and his or her own fate by describing Okonkwo as a tragic figure. While Okonkwo believes that he can overcome his fate through his hard work, Chinua Achebe reveals that fate is a powerful, inevitable event in the novel.

In the beginning of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is highly praised all over Umuofia for his great wealth and power. Achebe praises the achievements of the protagonist as he mentions, “If ever a man deserved his success, that man was Okonkwo.” (27) At early age, he brings honor to his village by beating Amalinze the Cat in the wrestling match and produces numerous crops through hard work. Okonkwo is very proud for his affluence and influence on his village, believing that his success is not just because of luck. He believes that his hard-working and steadfast nature brings him accomplishment as “Okonkwo said yes very strong, so his chi agreed. And not only his chi but his clan too, because it judged a man by the work of his hands.” (27) Even though Okonkwo seems to be a perfect man, who possesses everything, Okonkwo spent a miserable childhood under his father, who could barely feed his family. After his father’s death, he “did not have the start in life many young men had” (18) with any barn, title, or wife. However, he later becomes one of the most successful and prosperous men in his village. Because Okonkwo starts his life as a wretched and destitute man and paves his way up to success through hard work, which is slow and painful, he believes that he has a power to change his own fortune.

As the story progresses, all Okonkwo’s fame and wealth start to disappear. He is expelled from Umuofia for...
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