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Arrow of God

Arrow of God

by Chinua Achebe

Power Theme

A lust for power motivates many of the characters in Arrow of God. As the British administration's power rises, the men in Umuaro discover that their power is diminishing. All the men discover that their power is limited when the British administration steps in and stops the war with Okperi. Meanwhile, Nwaka and Ezidemili accuse Ezeulu of desiring power in order to mask their own attempts to unseat him and usurp his place. Ezeulu punishes the people of Umuaro because they didn't accord him and his deity Ulu proper respect. The power struggle between Ezeulu and the people of Umuaro gives the Christian catechist, Mr. Goodcountry, the opportunity to win converts. The book concludes with Ezeulu's power receding as Christianity takes precedence.

Questions About Power

  1. Who craves power in this novel? Why do they crave it?
  2. What kind of power do people tend to crave – religious, political, or something else?
  3. Are there different kinds of power in this novel? Can you find differences between these powers?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although Ezeulu has enormous power over the people of Umuaro – with the ability to decree whether or not they can harvest their crops – his use of this power is what destroys him.

Though the colonial administration apparently has enormous power, they are limited in using it when people like Ezeulu refuse to cooperate with them. This suggests that we can only exercise our power when we're allowed to do so.

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