The village of Umuofia gathered as a whole on the village ilo to watch the yearly wrestling matches
The village of Umuofia gathered as a whole on the village ilo to watch the yearly 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 the drum. The crowd formed a circle because they wanted all the attention in the middle of the circle where the matches take place. It’s the center of attention. Two great wrestlers of Umuofia, Okafo and Ikezue, fights it out in the final match. After a long fought spar, Okafo comes out as the victor. HE is carried on the shoulders of the villager and is carried home while women are praising him. The ideologies of the Igbo culture are closely associated with the wrestling matches. This event tests one’s abilities 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. Egwugwu and the ceremony of spirits are held to administer justice. The nine egwugwu are high-ranking men of the nine villages. They are impersonating the ancestors of Umuofia. The nine egwugwu represents the nine gods, one for each of the nine Umuofia villages. Chinua Achebe comments that women who are skeptical of egwugwu, know that they are actually 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 realize that the second egwugwu, “Evil Forest,” is Okonkwo himself. Not one person was supposed to know that Okonkwo was one of the egwugwu because egwugwu were addressed as the spirits of the ancestors. Children and women are terrified but they remain silent out of respect for the ancestors. In the Igbo religion, egwugwu plays a major role. Notable village men 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 takes Ekwefi with her and demands that no one should follow them. Ekwefi was worried about her daughter and followed Chielo and Ezinma anyways. Chielo made her way past the villages with her supernatural speed. Ekwefi tries to catch up to Chielo but has a hard time doing so. 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. 109). Ekwefi is ready to against god and sacrifice her life if anything were to happen to her daughter.