Ezeudu, Obierika, and Uchendu are respected elders in their villages in the story, Things Fall Apart. Achebe uses old men in his story as a source and guide of wisdom and strength, as well as character development to Okonkwo. It reflects as the story progresses until it affects all of Umufia.
Achebe first uses the wisdom of the elder, Ezendu, as he directs Okonkwo not to kill his adopted son, Ikemefuna. "That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death" (Pg. 57) he said, and it was an ample warning, as that Okonkwo doesn't heed Ezendu's advice and cuts the boy down on the simple fact of his honor and not to be thought weak. This later gives way to the hatred that brews between Okonkwo and his real son Nwoye, as to the fact that Ikemefuna was a trusted friend and brother and the thought that Okonkwo only cares of himself and has no real emotion.
Although that is not true as Okonkwo bears grief for what he had done. Soon there after, Ezendu perishes, and an accident happens that results in the seven-year exile from Umufia.
Prior to, during and after Okonkwo's exile Obierika plays a huge part to the strength of Umufia as well as Okonkwo. As a man of title, Obierika passes the most knowledge and character definement of the three focuses of this paper. Obierika is the Okonkwo's best friend and therefore, is always looking out for Okonkwo's best interest. During his time of exile, he brought him the sacks of cowries that the yams of his prior farm produced as well as for the seeds that were sold to sharecroppers. He was also a man who could reflect deeply, as described in the following paragraph: Obierika was a man who thought about things. When the will of the goddess had been done, he sat down in his obi and mourned his friend's calamity. Why should a man suffer so grieveosly for an offense he had committed inadvertently?Ã¢ÂÂ¦ What crime had they committed?Ã¢ÂÂ¦(pg.125).
The last major influence in this sullen story is Uchendu. This is the chief of Okonkwo's mother's kinsmen tribe. He brings to light many of the powers that a mother has in the life and role of children and wives, a balance of sort to the seemingly iron power of husbands in this society. This plays another important role in character development of Okonkwo, giving him more insight on the grand design of things.
All three of these men play a large part in the great design of Umufian society. Ezeudu, the warrior, was a source of spiritual enlightenment to all warriors due to his attaining three titles of the four any one man can get. Obierika, the friend and confidant to many, held the same warrior respect and proud traditions of the god's, even when it came down to Okonkwo's bitter end. Uchendu, who was the most insightful, was the spiritual leader of Umufia (actually Mbanta, to be specific ). He was the wise old owl of all. All three kept the traditions of Umufia alive, even though the white man and the church attempted to destroy all that their culture stood for.