Okonkwo was considered, by most, to be a tragic hero.
Through Okonkwo's life, the author will show how the Igbo religion played an important role in the way they raised their families, governed their society, communicated and entertained. The Ibo's religious beliefs was the essential strength and backbone to their everyday structure. The reader will travel with Okonkwo as he goes through opportunities that bring him success, but also the poor choices and circumstances that bring him to a state of deterioration.
My argument is to demonstrate the Igbo belief in having a relationship in following the religious beliefs worshipping their Gods and Goddesses. In addition, there is conflict when two cultures mesh together. The imposing culture that is more powerful will change the aspects of the weaker culture's way of life. For instance, the religious beliefs of Christianity within colonialism created conflicts among the Ibo culture and impacted Okonkwo in a negative way.
Okonkwo is portrayed as a well known courageous and wealthy man within his tribe. He does not like his father due to his lack of hard work and providing for his family. Okonkwo father's achievements were limited, because of this Okonkwo wants to be everything his father was not. Okonkwo, has several positive attributes within his character as he strives to be a hard worker to create his own meaning behind his name through becoming wealthy and becoming a courageous warrior in the tribal conflict Umuofia and the surrounding villages.
The Ibo's believed in many gods and goddesses. There religious practices are similar to the Egyptian and Greek religions.The Ibo religion is connected closely to nature and its elements. The Ibo tribe worships several Gods related to the their agriculture and farming. The tribe has the belief that making peace with the gods will ensure a good harvest.
This is illustrated on page 17 when Unoka is being told that, "...when a man is at peace with the gods and his ancestors, his harvest will be good or bad according to the strength of his arm." This particular quote is evidence of the importance their ancestors played in their religion. The tribe often prayed and consulted the spirits for approval and advice. It was believed through good deeds and devotion to their gods and ancestors, that good fortune will follow.
A negative characteristic Okonkwo has is his quick, sometimes impulsive, actions of violence against other people to try and prove his point. Okonkwo resorts to violence for fear of being perceived as weak from within his tribe. Okonkwo worked his farmland and was successful. Farming was considered one of the best paying jobs in the Ilbo culture.
He worked devotedly on his crops during planting and harvesting seasons, and with fear of failure driving his life, He "ruled his household with a heavy hand"(pg.10). His wives and children recognized Okonkwo's quick temper, but suffered his violence on occasion.When his third wife forgot to cook his supper and feed his children,Okonkwo's had beaten her brutally. Even though he was reminded of the ban of violence during the Week of Peace he did not stop.
Because he broke one of the sacred laws of their religion, Okonkwo is forced to make a sacrifice to the earth goddess in repentance. Having control of your wives and children indicates success in a man in the Ilbo culture. "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his woman and his children he was not really a man." (pg 45).This is evidence of another religious ritual in the Ibo tribe.
The migration of the Englanders affected the Umuofia's religion and facilitated conflict and doubt on the tribes religious beliefs and practices. Introducing Christianity to the villagers, more so the younger generations, lost their roots of their traditional customs. The colonization was the main source of Okaonkwo's tragedy because they were unfamiliar with Umofia's.