A tragic hero is a term that describes a character who displays certain characteristics which affect their future significantly. In Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo’s fate as a tragic hero to an extent is greatly true as he portrays hamartia, a fatal flaw, and hubris, excessive pride. Even though the author describes Okonkwo as a hardworking, African farmer, it contradicts his rash decisions following numerous events. Therefore, Okonkwo’s tragedy is true as his fear of weakness and excessive pride lead him to his downfall.
Because Okonkwo fits four out of the five criteria of a tragic hero, he is a tragic hero. Because he was a successful leader and farmer and he earned this success without any help, Okonkwo is better than ourselves. According to the book, Okonkwo “neither inherited a barn nor a title, nor even a young wife.” (18) Despite the fact that he came from a failure of a father, Okonkwo managed to become wealthy and successful. Because of his anger, and his fear of being thought weak, Okonkwo was vulnerable.
Every main character in any story always has their flaws and Okonkwo perfectly demonstrates that. The main character in the book Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is a man named Okonkwo. The story tracks his and his family’s lives as they live prospering in their village. Although he was born into a poor family with an idle father, Okonkwo’s determination and hard work led him up the social ladder to be one of the most successful people in his village. His actions reveal him to be a very rough and often violent person.
In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, both protagonists possess tragic flaws which lead to their demise. Distanced by years in literature, Okonkwo and Oedipus are remarkably similar, however display aspects of their personalities that make their epic journeys of fate quite different. Both characters are arrogant and refuse to be told they are incorrect about anything. They are considered admirable at first, especially in the eyes of the other characters, however by the end of both stories, they are considered outcasts. Both men possess an egotistic attitude and have an overwhelming sense of pride in their achievements. As highly regarded and elevated members of their community, their rise to power is short lived as they lose their legacy as respected men in their lands. They are united by kingship, and are driven to their tragic end by forces within and outside of their control. Okonkwo is responsible for the disasters that come to him and his tribe, while divine forces conspired against Oedipus, who must accept the brutal truth of his life and his role within it. Okonkwo and Oedipus are doomed heroes, as facets of their character, such as their social status, imperfections, and self-righteousness, play a huge role in how much these men can determine their own disastrous fate.
The post colonial novel, "Things fall apart" by Chinua Achebe depicts its protagonist Okonkwo as great person who falls into the world of chaos to find his own place through his strength and achievements. Okonkwo in few parts of novel touches the traces of epic hero while in other parts touches the tragic hero characteristics. However Okonkwo 's suicide in the end turns the table to reader to view him through different lens than epic hero or tragic hero.
The tragic flaws of the two cause their demise. Okonkwo as well as Macbeth can be identified as tragic heroes due to both men suffering from tragic flaws; however, their similarity of being tragic heroes diverge due to both men having different motivational factors that were instilled by their experiences. In both instances the external environment along with the personalities of the characters formed their tragic flaws. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw was created because he did not want to become anything similar to his father.
He is admired as a strong man capable of doing great things. This makes the audience understand how revered he is due to his profound and noble status. Furthermore, Okonkwo portrays a capability to conquer and hold honorable positions that make people admire him even more. Crowning it all Okonkwo “had taken two titles and had shown incredible powers in two inter-tribal wars” (pg. 7). Not only is he respected by his tribe, his significant
The five characteristics of an “Archetypal” tragic hero that I chose to describe Okonkwo would be the following: a noble stature, a tragic flaw, a free choice, his punishment exceeds the crime, and the hero has increased awareness. Okonkwo as a noble stature begins with the introduced in the beginning of the novel as being someone who “As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat” during a fierce wrestling match (1). Amalinze the Cat was previously undefeated and “their town engaged a spirit of the wild for seven days and seven nights” to celebrate Okonkwo’s wrestling victory (1). At the conclusion of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo has increased awareness when he realizes that his way of using brute
As a result of the cultural collision Okonkwo’s morals are tested, those close to him change, and he succumbs to the fate of a tragic hero. Okonkwo’s character is shaped mostly by the fear of being like his father. When his father, Unoka, was alive he spent his money on food and wine and
He thinks that anyone who is not like that is weak The main reason why Okonkwo is a tragic hero is that of how weak his chi is. The chi takes a big important role in the novel because according to the Igbo people, anything something goes wrong with a person it is because of there bad chi.in the beginning of the book, Okonkwo seems to be the one that has the best chi and has everything going for him at the time. In the beginning of the book the reader is meant though think that Okonkwo will overcome anything that is thrown at him because of his chi. This is shown in the novel when
Okonkwo’s motivations, character development, and interactions suggest that he is a byronic hero. Okonkwo's rambunctious outburst and defiance of the gods shows his arrogance. In the hero source “characteristics of a byronic hero” its states “In one form or another he rejects the values and moral codes of society..”. Okonkwo's’ arrogance is shown in chapter four when he was being described as “Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half way through. Not even for fear of a goddess.”(Achebe31).
In the book “Things Fall Apart“ Okonkwo is a very strong man and from time to time he starts showing his true self. He has a lot of responsibilities and other things he has to do around the living environment and interact with lots of people. Okonkwo changes from being that strong man, to a man who feels like his tribe is not with him when he wants to go to war with the missionaries. For someone like Okonkwo a lot of people looks up to him and while in the tribe Okonkwo beats his wives and children. Not good behavior for someone who is supposedly looked at as strong.
His suicide at the end of the story seems fitting, for once the culture loses its unique way of life, he has nothing left to live for. Throughout his life, Okonkwo possesses a steady fear of failure. Toward the beginning of the story, Achebe says, “Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself” (13). Internal forces constantly chip away at Okonkwo’s sanity, threatening to destroy him.
Whether okonkwo is threatening his son to work or feeling ashamed of his father, the man is portrayed being an unsympathetic character to the eye from his beatings and cockiness, but people hardly look past that to view it from another perspective. Okonkwo is actually a sympathetic character if people would consider how he treats his son do to the fear his father put into him. His past transformed him to be hard working and teach his own children the value of setting their own title even though it is not in put perfectly on the table. Okonkwo treats his father unoka very differently from his own son. “When unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt.
The author, Chinua Achebe, used Okonkwo as an example of the father/son conflict and how the conflict affects a man’s life. Just because one does not always act like the typical strong, almost emotionless man, that does not mean one is coward. Okonkwo’s thought process leads to his demise because he cannot bear to see the strong willed tribe and culture he has known his whole life fail him: just