Freud’s Return of the Repressed and Conflict in Achebe’s Arrow of God

Chibuzo Onunkwo, Nwaka Caroline Olubunmi


Chinua Achebe is widely acclaimed as the father of modern African Literature. His works of literature are read beyond the shores of Africa. Although Things Fall Apart, created renewed interest in the study of African Literature, Arrow of God, is affirmed by critics as the most complex of Achebe’s writing in terms of plot development, characterization and setting. Scholars have studied the text in terms of the demise of traditional African society by the imposing force of colonialism. For some of the critics, Ezeulu is seen as a representative figure that is destroyed while defending the cause of his community. This paper takes a different perspective on the various studies of the work. It attempts to discuss conflict in Arrow of God using Sigmund Freud’s idea of return of the repressed. Conflict is a situation in which people, groups, or countries are involved in a serious disagreement or argument. In this study we shall discuss the various shades of conflict under the following category: Ezeulu in conflict with himself, with his deity and the community using Freud’s concept of return of the repressed as a theoretical tool that controls this discussion.


Unconscious, Achebe, Ezeulu, Conflict, Arrow of God

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