Robert Fraser


There seems to be no general critical agreement as to the reason for the suicide of Okonkwo, the protagonist of Chinua Achebe's' novel Things Fall Apart. Gerald Moore in his Seven African Writers simply records the incident, his only clue as to its interpretation being his earlier statement that 'Okonkwo cannot reconcile himself to the paralysis of will which he senses around him'. In Arthur Ravenscroft's monograph the emphasis is slightly different: 'he hangs himself, not to avoid arrest but out of despair for the future of his people'. G. D. Killam in his more extended study of the writer is even less committal. Observing simply that 'Okonkwo's suicide is reported off-stage', he neglects entirely the question of motive, contenting himself with the admitted dramatic irony of Okonkwo having provoked the very kind of shame he fought all his life to avoid.



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