Okonkwo's Killing

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Even though the death of Ikemefuna was told to Okonkwo’s tribe, I don’t think he should have taken part in his killing. Okonkwo raised Ikemefuna for three whole years since he was taken from his tribe. He basically became Ikemefuna’s father figure, since he originally never knew one. Because of this, he shouldn’t have taken part in his extermination. Even Ogbuefi Ezeudu, the oldest man in Umuofia, tried to talk Okonkwo out of it. “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death” (Achebe 57). An idealistic father back then and now for that matter, is seen as someone who teaches his sons all of the details of being a man, guides his children in the right direction, and protect them no matter what. Although he taught and guided Ikemefuna, Okonkwo wouldn’t protect this boy who he saw as a son. However, it is a matter whether Okonkwo ‘couldn’t’ or ‘wouldn’t’. Growing up, not having a strong father figure himself and having to work since he was very young, Okonkwo always had a fear of being weak and being afraid. When he is about to kill Ikemefuna, some of this fear comes out. “Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (61). Some might argue that because of his fear of fear, Okonkwo have no choice in killing Ikemefuna. However, I think that because Okonkwo had the sensation of fear, deep down, he knew how wrong the killing was. Even days afterward, he could not sleep or eat. Although he built himself up in a way that made him untouchable to emotion, underneath, he cannot avoid it and the wrongness of what he participated in is slowly eating him up inside.
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