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This research work gives the details of dictatorship in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The two novels dramatize the effects of dictatorship in African society. The novels also expose the effect of dictatorship as seen in the character of Okonkwo who treat and rule his family authoritatively in Things Fall Apart. Their writings have also observes that Nigeria and Africa at large have experienced tremendous issues of political conflicts, colonial domination, war and conflicts of all kinds.

As writers in contemporary Africa, Adichie and Achebe took upon themselves in examining the effects of dictatorial leaders after the nation’s independence with particular reference in the two novels studied in this work.  They also examine the ugly situation and paint the ugly picture of dictatorship involvement in the country and the present day society during the era of military dictatorship when the civilians were over thrown on the charges of gross indiscipline looting and corruption.

Achebe, for instance, highlights the plight of Okonkwo as one of the dictators in the novel who neglects and rules his family shabbily. He is a dictator who maltreated and marginalized his entire family as examined in the novel above.




1.1  Background to the Study

Dictatorship is an authoritarian type of government where there is absolute control of affairs by one person. It could also be described as a government or a social situation where one person makes all the decision without input from anyone else. Dictatorship implies absolute power of one person who takes control of a political situation, a family, a classroom an even a camping expedition.

The name comes from the Latin word “dictate” which means to repeat or say often. The advent of the 19th and 20th centuries saw to the emergence of dictatorship and constitutional democracies as the world’s two forms of government, gradually eliminating monarchies, one of the traditional widespread forms of government of the time.

Typically, in dictatorial regime, the leader of the country is always feared by the people and he is always talked about at the background as a tyrant, although formal title may more closely resemble something similar to leader.



The office of dictator once had a very different meaning from how we think of it today. It was first created by the Roman’s senate in 510 B.C for emergence purposes, such as taking care of rebellions. During the time of the republic, Rome was ruled by two consuls, and the senate decided that in some cases it was necessary to have a single person making decisions. Sometimes, one of the consuls became dictator.

Dictators held authority over all other politicians, couldn’t be held legally responsible for their actions and couldn’t hold the office for longer than six month {although there two exceptions to this rule}. They could also change Roman law and the constitution, but they couldn’t leave Italy. Most dictators left office after they completed their tasks, even if their six month hadn’t yet elapsed.


Titus Larcius had been a consul. He was chosen to put down a rebellion stage by several cities that wanted to reinstate the most recent roman king, Tarquinii. Titus larcius was a member of the patrician’s class, the privilege elite. He worked to improve the lives of the plebeians the middle- and –lower- class Romans.

Dictators were appointed off and on as necessary until 202B.C more than 100years later, Lucius Cornelius Sulla was appointed dictator without a term limit and without the restrictions of previous dictators. He ruled for two years in the office and executed thousands of Romans citizens many of them political opponents; Sulla also became rich by confiscating property.


He was succeeded by Julius Caesar, who was named dictator for life and proceeded to begin a Civil War. Caesar was assassinated in 44B.C, and the office of dictator was abolished due to its corruption.

Moreover, Dictatorship form of government is one in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations. The dictatorship in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.


Dictators usually resort to force or threat to gain despotic political power which they maintain through the use of intimidation, terror, and the suppression of basic Civil liberties. They may also employ techniques of mass proganda in order to sustain their public support.

It is on the foregoing this research aims at investigating the theme of dictatorship in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Dictatorship form of government is an unacceptable type of government anywhere. The problem in this research is to show how Adichie and Chinua Achebe Captures the theme of dictatorship in their works, Purple Hibiscus and Things Fall Apart through the activities of certain characters which include, Okonkwo and papa, which uses dictatorship to suppress the freedom of the masses in the novel.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the theme of dictatorship in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart, this work aims at the following:

  1. to create awareness that dictatorship should not be practiced in Nigeria, and indeed anywhere else,
  2. to eliminate the negative effect of the sudden rise of dictatorial Communist,
  3. to transform into a free and democratic country as soon as possible,
  4. to abolish political pluralism and Civilian mobilization,
  5. to change the mind of a dictators that they have to role with questioned and limited power.


1.4 Significance of the Study

The Study aims at the following:

  1. suggest means through which the power of jailing and executing their opponents should be resolved in the novel,
  2. Investigate how dictators have taken over the supreme power by force in the novel,
  3. Suggest means through which dictatorship will be eliminated in the novel,
  4. Investigate how dictatorship causes inadequate of self behavior to the masses,
  5. Investigate the Autocratic Rule of the leaders to the masses in the novel and the effect.


1.5 Research Method 

This is a library research; this research adopts both primary and secondary methods. The primary research method is the use of the primary texts which the use of the primary texts which are Things Fall Apart and Purple Hibiscus as major texts and source of data for the discussion of dictatorship in the novel.

The Secondary Research Method refers to the use of library and search for materials textbooks, magazines, newspaper, Journals and internet.


1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This research study is concerned with dictatorship in Adichie Purple’s Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart. It is limited to the justification and analysis of dictatorship in the novel.


1.7 Objectives of the Study 

Objectives of the study are:

  1. to examine how the author make use of Dictatorship in the work under investigation,
  2. to determine the symbols in the story that constitutes to dictatorship in the novels under study,
  3. to analyze the effect of dictatorship in our society as portrayed in the novels under investigation.


Definition of Terms

Dictatorship– A type of government where absolute sovereignty is allotted to an individual or small clique.

 Pluralism – The of a pluralist; the holding of more than one ecclesiastical living at a time.

Eliminated to completely destroy (something) So that it no longer exists.
 Suppression – The state of being suppressed.



This research work was carried out on dictatorship in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. As examined in the two novels, that characterized dictatorship is taking advantage of their strong personality, usually by expressing freedom of thought and speech of the masses, in order to maintain complete political and social supremacy and stability.

Despite their many differences, both texts present postcolonial Nigerian history as an unfinished struggle between dictatorship and radical democracy.

Both novels also stress the effects of dictatorship in the life of the women who are ruled rudely by their husbands as seen in the character of Beatrice who goes through pains by her husband, Papa Eugene, a dictatorial man. The author uses Beatrice to portray how many women in our contemporary society suffer marital violence in the hands of their dictatorial husbands.


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Peter Hezekiah

I am Peter Hezekiah, a Nigerian. A graduate of Economics/Education. I'm the Editor in (A online company that deals with writing of final year project and provision of project materials of any topic to final year project students). My personal email is My personal number; +2347068634102

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