Is Okonkwo A Tragic Hero

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“The truly tragic kind of suffering is the kind produced and defiantly insisted upon by the hero himself so that, instead of making him better, it makes him worse and when he dies he is not reconciled to the law but defiant, that is, damned.” ~ W.H Auden. Tragic heroes are a common theme found in literature and are often defined as a protagonist of a tragedy that falls due to a fatal flaw. In the novel Things Fall Apart, author Chinua Achebe introduces the character of Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a “strong man”, hero, and leader of Umuofia, which is an Ibo village in Nigeria. At the conclusion of the novel, Okonkwo succumbs to pain and suffering and commits suicide which is an atrocious crime in the culture of Umuofia. Okonkwo’s tragic demise ultimately…show more content…
Okonkwo can definitely be characterized as a tragic hero because he meets Aristotle 's standards of being an impressive figure that the reader can empathize with, possesses the essential qualities of goodness, appropriateness, lifelike, and consistency, and his death is due to a fatal flaw that results in a moral/lesson for the…show more content…
Throughout the book, Okonkwo wears an outer shell of pride, bravery, violence, and strength. But certain times it becomes clear that Okonkwo truly is a good man. He loves and cares deeply for his family, as he works extremely hard to provide and protect his kin. “If I say that we did not expect such a big feast I will be suggesting that we did not know how open handed our son, Okonkwo, is. We all know him, and we expected a big feast. But it turned out even bigger than we expected. Thank you. May all you took out return again tenfold. “ (Achebe 166). Feasting is shown to be a main way of celebration and honoring the events in someone’s life. In the Ibo culture, the bigger the feast the richer and the more thankful a person is. Despite Okonkwo being bitter and reluctant about his exilement, he is extremely thankful and he feels the best way to exhibit this was an extremely large feast. He is trying his best to express his gratitude in the most genuine way available, through a celebration centered around food. So while Okonkwo does struggle to healthily process and show his emotions, he does care deeply about those around him. This internal struggle of expressing his emotions and Okonkwo’s obvious mental illnesses also contribute to making Okonkwo an incredibly lifelike character. Okonkwo

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