Okonkwo Tragic Hero

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Cassidy Bulger In the novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, protagonist Okonkwo starts off with a sense of nobility and respect based on “solid personal achievements” that he has made. However he can be considered a tragic hero based on the parameters set by Aristotle, including his tragic flaw which is his fear of weakness and failure. The elements of a tragic hero prove that even someone as well respected and popular as Okonkwo can falter and be classified as a tragic hero. In Achebe’s novel, Okonkwo is well regarded in the beginning. His personal achievement in his wrestling career was what contributed to his growing fame and respect. “As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat….Okonkwo’s…show more content…
This happens to Okonkwo when his gun goes off and kills Ezeudu’s son. Though it was a complete accident, “Okonkwo’s gun had exploded and a piece of iron had pierced the boy’s heart” (Achebe 124). Because he was found responsible for the death of the boy, Okonkwo’s future is doomed from here on out, as he is forced to serve a seven year exile sentence. Another element that was out of Okonkwo’s control was the migration of the Christian missionaries and the conversions that were taking place while he was in exile. Okonkwo viewed change and conversion out of the village faith as a sign of weakness, and because of this, he feared it. In order to act against his fear, he committed an act of rage and he killed a court messenger, which hurried his self-inflicted demise. When Okonkwo realized his own character flaw, he succumbed to it; this is called “anagnorisis” by Aristotle. It is at this moment where Okonkwo realizes what he has done, and that he cannot restore the past, he commits his act of suicide. This suicidal act was an escape from the change that was brought by the Christians, and an escape from the punishment that they would inflict on him, ultimately causing him to lose his power and

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