Okonkwo wanted his tribe to fight back the missionaries in order to protect their Igbo culture but his persistence only led to his downfall. This can be seen when Okonkwo makes a rash decision to kill a messenger thinking Umuofia would fight back but ended up not fighting, “The white man whose power you know too well has ordered this meeting to stop.” In a flash, Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless. Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body.
Okonkwo’s worst fear was to be the kind of man his father was, so he tried his best not to let his fear become a reality. With a father like Unoka, Okonkwo didn’t get the start as most young men in the village; however, he worked his way to the position of leadership of the clan. There was only one emotion that Okonkwo showed, and it was anger. This was his only emotion because it was how he expressed his feelings. Okonkwo had to leave his fatherland, but after returning home, he found his home unrecognizable.
This eventually leads to Okonkwo's suicide. Okonkwo was too proud to surrender to the white people. He was too proud to let his tribe give up their warlike history. He was to proud and self-assured to accept his son's choices. Okonkwo is a sad character whose pride has constantly led him down the crooked path.
I will further explain more about the theme. In the beginning of the story, Okonkwo was a very vigorous man who everyone loves. One day a killing happened leaving Okonkwo with a wife and a son, Ikemefuna. He grew to like the young boy, where he is different from his other children, On a fateful day, Okonkwo murders Ikemefuna. Okonkwo had a load of guilt for killing his adoptive son, Ikemefuna.
Everyone always hears the limited view of the white person. Hearing how Okonkwo took his own life, a deed looked at by his tribe as shameful, offers a new perspective. Suicide was so shameful that nobody in his tribe would take his body down from the tree that it was hanging from. They asked the white men to take it down. The commissioner that took Okonkwo 's body down was writing a book and sized up Okonkwo’s life to a paragraph.
Okonkwo is the protagonist and tragic hero of this story. He was a man who let the fear of looking weak get the best of him and he ended up doing things he didn’t want to do. His deadbeat father was the blame of how he ended up being in life. His life went downhill really fast. He dealt with things back to back and he didn’t see things getting any better.
“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe exposes a tragic figure, Okonkwo who possesses tragic flaws that eventually lead to his own downfall hence; it categorizes Okonkwo as a tragic hero. As Aristotle defines, “tragic hero is a noble man that displays tragic flaw or hamartia”. A tragedy will frequently promote the feeling of deep condolence towards the tragic hero because it often ends deadly. The protagonist character, Okonkwo embrace the absolute fit of tragic hero. He performs fatal flaw and banishes on behalf of it only to come back seven years later in a complete disappointment.
Okonkwo is supposed to fight back for his village and not stop until he gets it done. In the story Achebe quotes, “He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father he could stand the look of blood.” (Chapter 2). Okonkwo loved action and violence. That is how he believes things should get done.
Okonkwo saw himself as a child in Ike, he was strong and hardworking. With Ike’s presence around Nwoye started to act more and more like a man each day and this made Okonkwo proud. For once in his life Okonkwo saw his son acting like a man, doing what he was supposed to do as a young man. It was all thanks to Ike acting almost like a big brother, showing Nwoye what to do and how to act. Until one day the tribe came to Okonkwo to inform him that they were going to kill Ike for his fathers actions.
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).