Analysis of the quote "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/are full of passionate intensity" from "things fall apart" by Chinua Achebe

Essay by opacusHigh School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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first, a word to the not so wise...this was an informal essey i had to write, so i used first person...if you use this, change all the "I"s to something else or your teacher will summarily slam you


The quote says that the best people are the ones who lack conviction, or don't have strong will. The question, however, arises when we must think about what the "best" is, best on the battlefield, best as a member of the community, or best at planting yams? By the same reasoning, what is the worst, and who are the worst? Okonkwo is sure of himself and follows through with his actions with the utmost conviction. His intensity is startling for all who witness it, and he even goes so far as to defy the gods because of his conviction, "...Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for fear of a goddess" (Achebe 73).

In this quote it is stated that he would not go back on his decision even for fear of a goddess. Okonkwo's actions shows the utmost conviction. Does that make him the worst? I don't think so, because he is a valuable warrior on the battlefield, and is a very important member in society, and has done very well for himself despite his father's history. He in every respect is an honored member in his society. So then, if he is so good then the ones who have the most conviction are the best.

There is a major issue with people who have extreme conviction. They tend to ignore the sufferings of other humans, in their want to see things through even if what they witness was not necessarily what they had in mind or wanted to achieve. A prime example...