The village of Umuofia gathered together on the village ilo to watch the wrestling matches. The crowd formed a circle near the “ancient silk-cotton tree which was sacred” (pg. 47). Elders sat on their own stools while others stood. Three drummers are on the field facing the elders while they’re playing a rhythm. The crowd formed a circle because the wrestling matches are the center of attention.
In the third match, Okafo and Ikezue, two great wrestlers of Umuofia, square off in a tense match. After a long fought match, Okafo wins and is carried home while young women are singing songs praising him. Wrestling matches are associated with the ideologies of the Igbo culture.
This event tests one’s skills and honors him for it. However, partaking in this event puts your social status at stake. Teens who are not doing well and are getting a bad reputation are referred to as agbala. Okonkwo is associated with this ideology. In the opening passage of the novel, Achebe describes the Okonkwo as a physical and violent man.
Defeating the “Amalinze the Cat” resulted in Okonkwo as a prominent heroic figure. 2. The ceremony gathering of the spirits of egwugwu is held to administer justice. They’re costumed high ranking men who are impersonating the nine founders of Umuofia. The nine egwugwu represents the nine gods, one for each of the nine Umuofia villages. Chinua Achebe hints us that the women indeed know that egwugwu are village men with masks on. Okonkwo’s wives, and perhaps other women as well, might have noticed that the second egwugwu had the springy walk of Okonkwo. And they might also have noticed that Okonkwo was not among the titled men and elders who sat behind the row of egwugwu.
But if they thought these things they kept them within themselves. (pg. 89-90). Okonkwo’s wives notice that the second egwugwu, “Evil Forest,” is Okonkwo himself.
No one was supposed to know that Okonkwo was one of the egwugwu because egwugwu were addressed as the ancestral spirits. The children and women are filled with fear and remain silent out of respect. The egwugwu play a significant role in the Igbo religion.
The high-ranking men in the villages consult with their deceased relatives for important decisions. They believe that there are multiple gods. 3. Chielo told Ekwefi that Agbala wants to meet Ezinma. Chielo furiously states “Beware, Okonkwo!” she warned. “Beware of exchanging words with Agbala. Does a man speak when God speaks? Beware!” (pg.
101). Then, Chielo carries Ekwefi and insist that no one should follow them. Ekwefi follows Chielo and Ezinma anyways.
Chielo made her way through the villages with supernatural strength. Ekwefi has a hard time following Chielo. Chielo and Ezinma then enter the Oracle’s cave. Okonkwo and Ekwefi are both outside the cave and are puzzled as to what is going on.
“She swore within her that if she heard Ezinma cry she would rush into the cave to defend her against all the gods in the world. She would die with her” (pg. 108). Ekwefi is willing to against god and sacrifice her life if anything were to happen to her daughter.