Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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The tragedy is an ancient form of drama, found as far back as the ancient greeks. Traditionally, a man of good standing has fame, fortune, and wealth, until his downfall caused by a tragic flaw, or hubris. The man then experiences agony and pain due to his fall from grace. This is the case of the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The main character Okonkwo is a man of high standing in Igbo society who built his way up from the low status given unto him by his unreliable father. He achieves having a good yam farm, three wives, and several children. Okonkwo then experiences a fall from grace, losing status and fortune, and is exiled from his tribe for several years, only to return to find it completely changed. Okonkwo’s destiny is that…show more content…
He worked to gain all he had. While that is an extraordinary example of determination, it is also a giant giveaway to his hubris. When Okonkwo was young, he lived with his unreliable father, who made barely any resources and spent it away. Okonkwo hears his father always insulted for this, being called feminine and that Unoka was doing a woman’s kind of work. This fear is imprinted in Okonkwo from an early age, spawning a fear of anything remotely womanly in his society. He ties femininity with failure, fueling his obsession with being the best. His hubris is even known by the other citizens, who attribute his fears to his childhood struggle against poverty. “Anyone who knew his grim struggle against poverty and misfortune could not say he had been lucky. If ever a man deserved his success, that man was Okonkwo.” (Achebe, 27) This detail is what also makes this tragedy even more depressing. Okonkwo has been in poverty before. He has experienced this pain, shame, and suffering already, and did not expect it to come back to him. This is unlike other traditional Elizabethan tragedy characters, who are born with their high standing. This makes the story a downward spiral back to where Okonkwo never wanted to…show more content…
Okonkwo is ashamed by his tribe in the accidental murder, calling his killing womanly because it had not been intentional. Okonkwo continues this quest into self while he is banished. He tries to find the powers of women in society, and comes to the conclusion his favorite daughter, Ezinma, should have been born a man. The worst part of this questioning is upon his return to his village after his exile. He returns to find the village filled with Christians, even a Christian school. Okonkwo’s other son chose to follow Christ and go to a teaching school. Okonkwo has no title and his land is destroyed, but he still tries to rebuild what he had relying on his resourcefulness, which is so closely tied to his hubris. He is displaced where he lives in now, a Rip Van Winkle of his time. “Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not just a personal grief. He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men, who had so unaccountably become soft like women. (Achebe, 183)” In a show of rage, he beheads a Christian messenger, and then is found after committing suicide. Okonkwo is reduced from a man of worth and status to a man not even worthy of burial by his community. This theme is also the same in Elizabethan tragedy. His hubris is directly directly linked to his death. He lived a life so self conscious of his manhood that he ended up

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