Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe
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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

5) Why does Okonkwo hang himself?

After Okonkwo and others return from a period of imprisonment by the Europeans, members of the nine villages gather to discuss a course of action. Four European messengers appear and try to stop the meeting, and Okonkwo immediately kills one of them. But instead of applauding the murder, as he expects they will, Okonkwo’s clansmen grow furious. Okonkwo sees his clansmen’s reaction as a sign that no one will stand with him in defense of the nine villages. Rather than face the ultimate emasculation of succumbing to the white men, Okonkwo returns to his compound and hangs himself.