Okonkwo: A Tragic Hero In Things Fall Apart

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A tragic hero is “great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat.” (Unknown, 2014:1). The protagonist, Okonkwo, in the novel Things Fall Apart fits the definition and expectations regarding a tragic hero in English literature. Okonkwo embraces the power and respect bestowed upon him from the community of Umuofia. Unfortunately his fear of failure regarding any decision he makes and the fear of self-realization results in his downfall. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. He was called the Cat because his back would never touch the earth.” (Achebe, 1959:3) Okonkwo is portrayed as a physically strong wrestler. Throughout the novel Okonkwo provides the readers with high expectations regarding…show more content…
This is done to retain peace amongst the villages. Ikemefuna calls Okonkwo father, and there is a portrayal of mutual understanding and respect between both individuals. Okonkwo indicates a sense of respect and admiration towards Ikemefuna this is evident when the narrator states that “Okonkwo was inwardly pleased at his son’s development, and he knew it was due to Ikemefuna.” (Achebe, 1959:38). However Okonkwo will not show his true feelings towards Ikemefuna as he believes that he will display weakness and affection. These characteristics are those of which he avoids throughout his entire life. Okonkwo accepts the fact that Ikemefuna is a good influence on his son, this shows the reader that Okonkwo may understand that he cannot always control his thoughts and feelings. This extract may also indicate a sense of self-realisation, Okonkwo may have the ability, unwillingly, to indicate affection towards others and not only
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