In his society,” “He was a wealthy farmer and woodchat barns full Of yams, and had just married his third wife. To crown it all he had taken two titles and had shown incredible prowess in two intertribal wars”. He was a self-made man who passed through a modest childhood to become a prosperous and respected leader. He was obsessed with his father, Nook’s failure. He rejects everything for which he believes his father stood. Knock was idle, poor, profligate, cowardly, gentle, and interested in music to cultivating crops.
Awoken was determined o prove himself industrious, “Lest he should be found to resemble his father. Awoken was ruled by one passion-to hate everything his father, Knock had loved It was his need to to live down the shame of his father that compels him to an excessive adherence Of the social code. Awoken rules his family with an iron fist. His family was all of three wives and eight children.
Awoken treats his members of the family harshly as well. “His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children”. Awoken beats his wives and shouts at his hillier even when he is well aware that they are innocent.
He is even willing to break the rules of the clan to prove his authority. During the Week of Peace, when clan members are not allowed to quarrel, Awoken beats his wife harshly. A priest warns Awoken that breaking the tradition “can ruin the whole clan”. Distill, Awoken struggles with his fear that any sign of weakness will cause him to lose control of his wives and children. Although, he felt inward affection, he never portrayed them to anyone. He instead isolated himself by exhibiting anger through violent, stubborn, and irrational behavior.
He demands that his family work long hours despite their age or limited physical stamina. But he is at constant conflict with his emotions. Awoken is afraid to express positive emotions. He believes that “affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength”. When the Oracle decides that Shameful,a boy who lives with Ginkgo’s family,is to be killed ,he delivers a deadly blow even though the elders had warned him against involvement. Len building his story, however, Achebe is careful to hint at a softer side to his main character.
After Snakeskin’s death, Awoken is unable to eat or sleep for several days and succumbs to a deep depression. Again, when Ginkgo’s daughter falls ill, Ginkgo’s compassion is made apparent as he runs to Eczema’s hut to care for her. Later, when the same daughter is taken away by a priestess, Awoken secretly spends the night worrying about the girl and comforting his wife by waiting beside her for the daughter’s return. Unfortunately, these emotions and acts of compassion are private, shared only among select members of the family. Awoken was impulsive; he acts before he thinks.
Although he is a superior character-his equation of manliness with rashness, anger and violence brings out his own destruction. Though he is ambitious his ill-temper and uncontrollable flaw keeps him away from greatness. His unrestrained and indomitable anger does him more harm. Eventually, Christianity is brought into Muffin, which has led to the advent of a new religion and the creation of new ideas. The religion spreads up the social ladder and Annoy, is eventually claimed by it. Annoy alienates himself because of his fathers harshness and severity of his methods.
He becomes a art of what Awoken wanted to destroy the most-He was resistant to change and wanted to preserve the culture and heritage of his clan and his ancestors. He felt that this advent was changing the Gobo culture and they were changes that required compromise and accommodation- two qualities he found absolutely intolerable. He was a traditional man and not open to the contemporary ideas of the new murdering world. He was too proud and inflexible; he clung to the time- honored beliefs and mourns the lives and ways of the past. Anger begets fear begets power.
Power IS easily taken away with changing mimes. Because Awoken did not realize it, he wasn’t able to forfeit. If fears are the seed of destruction, the arrival of colonialism was the fertile soil. When Awoken was allowed to return to his fatherland after seven long years, he finds the presence of the white men had changed the attitude of a once proud and war like village. With the British missionaries and officer’s influence of Christianity, Ginkgo’s initial reaction was to arm the clan against them and drive them out of Gobo. It is this violent resistance that seals Ginkgo’s fate.
When a messenger of he British government attempts to break up a meeting of villagers, Awoken chops off the man’s head in hopes that the clan will follow his lead . However, the clan is stunned by Ginkgo’s brutality, and Awoken faces his shame alone. He realizes that none of them support him and that he can’t save his village from the British colonists. Awoken is defeated. He commits suicide, a shameful and disgraceful death like his father’s. The Gobo culture had made Awoken a hero, but the Gobo culture changed with the coming of the British Colonizers.
Awoken, a hero, would rather die than be humiliated by his enemies and by committing suicide Awoken prevented the European Colonizers from getting revenge. Aristotle statement, “Man, when perfect, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all”, embodies the rise and fall of Awoken in China Achebe’s novel. Awoken, like many tragic heroes before him, maybe a hero but his tragic flaw prevents him from achieving true greatness as a human being. Awoken appears to be the typical tragic hero-?a man of greatness brought down by a flaw in his character and by unbeatable fate.
The lack of self-discovery and of moral resolution at the end cast uncertainty as to whether his character is really a tragic hero, in the classical meaning, or merely an unfortunate victim of circumstance. Mankind has many different faces. Although fear and anger are reactions that all men have, if left unchecked, they will consume all one has worked for and ultimately destroy everything that one holds dear. Because of that, before actions are taken, much consideration should be taken to make sure that personal flaws as well as flaws in society do not interfere with one’s judgment.
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