s is because no mention was made about other men like Oboerika, Nwakabie, Uchendu among others about beating their wives. However, when a woman is beaten frequently by the husband, she can go back to her house. Women in Igbo traditional culture cannot be seen as robots or punch bags for their husbands. Though Okonkwo and Uzowulu tend to subject their wives to the status of robots by not always allowing them to have their say or beating them at the least provocation, it should also be understood that the culture makes a case against such suppressive and wife battering husbands. As exemplified in the case of Uzowulu and Mgbafo his wife. Uzowulu, a beastly serial wife beater, was also beaten blue and black by the wife’s brothers. Mgbafo his wife and two children were as a result taken away from him. It took the mediation of the egwugwu elders for him to go to his in-laws with a pot of wine and beg for his wife’s return. He was once more, strictly warned by the elders that “it is not bravery when a man fights with a woman”  (p. 75). Wife battening or domestic violence is therefore, not part of the Igbo traditional culture. Rather, it is seriously loathed and controlled through traditional moral principles as enshrined in the corpus of Omenala traditional custom. As a result, a woman who is frequently beaten by the husband or not happy in a marriage is supported by the culture to go back to her father’s house and have her peace.
There is no gainsaying the fact that in the novel, Achebe painted a picture that instantaneously brings to thought that the dignity of women has been greatly undermined. As observed from the novel: women could be beaten by their aggressive husbands; Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel is predominantly portrayed as a chief misogynist; one man can have multiple women as wives and they are awfully bound to pander to his whims and caprices; their contributions are largely dictated and limited by cultural traditions; they are not involved in core traditional discussions of their community; they are not constituent members of the ancestral egwugwu judicial council that make group decisions and pass judgments; they are restricted from a lot of cultural practices. In fact, women are largely portrayed by the narrator as corporally weak and obsequiously subservient to their men.
More so, the misogynous Okonkwo is the principal character in Things Fall Apart. Understandably, he is well versed in the cultural traditions of the Igbo as represented by the Umuofia community and fanatically passionate about it. Nevertheless, Okonkwo is chiefly characterized with apparent misogynistic traits that are quite antithetical to the Igbotraditional customs, which he appears to cherish and uphold. He distinctly displayed this feature of women despiser all through the narrative. Being an illustrious and celebrated personality in Umuofia and beyond, Okonkwo consequently developed into an inappropriate model and erroneously provided some negative impressions about the position and role of women in Igbo culture.
Therefore, a good analyst should be dispassionate, probe deeper and not out of sheer prejudice or contempt lose inherent sight of the critical roles and contributions of the womenfolk in Igbo traditional society as depicted in the novel. Inasmuch as the feminine gender is portrayed as weaker and their value underscored with a wide patriarchal veil, women play pivotal roles in the supposed hegemonic masculine culture. Eventually, the incessant negligence of Okonkwo to the feminine gender at every twist and turn paved way for his downfall. In due course, it led to his disgraceful end. In spite of the patriarchal nature of the Igbo society, the roles of the feminine gender are essentially indispensable and fundamentally central to the overall wellbeing of the male gender, the survival and continuity of the society.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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