With the killing of Ikemefuna, Achebe creates a devastating scene that evokes compassion for the young man and foreshadows the fall of Okonkwo, again in the tradition of the tragic hero. Along the way, the author sets up several scenes that juxtapose with the death scene:
The opening scene of the chapter shows the increasing affection and admiration Okonkwo feels for Ikemefuna, as well as for Nwoye.
On the journey with Ikemefuna and the other men of Umuofia, they hear the "peaceful dance from a distant clan."
ikemefuna lived in Okonkwo's household for three years. Okonkwo became fond of the boy, allowing him and Nwoye into his hut where he would share stories with them.
Ogbuefi Ezeudu pays Okonkwo a visit. Outside, he informs Okonkwo in private that the Oracle has decreed that Ikemefuna must be killed. He tells Okonkwo not to take part in the boy’s death, as Ikemefuna calls him “father.”
Okonkwo lies to Ikemefuna, telling him that he will be returning to his home village.
During the long walk home with the men of Umuofia, Ikemefuna thinks about seeing his mother and younger sister. After hours of walking, a man attacks him with a machete. Ikemefuna cries to Okonkwo for help.
Okonkwo doesn’t wish to look weak, so he cuts the boy down, killing him.
Okonkwo sinks into a depression. He feels weak, and he cannot sleep or eat.
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