Okonkwo Tragic Hero

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Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, narrates the destruction of a tribal civilization and a tribal religion through Imperialism. In this story, the main character, Okonkwo, surfaces as a tragic hero. A tragic hero can fall under many categories. For example, he or she can be an Aristotelian tragic hero or Arthur Miller’s depiction of a tragic hero. A tragic hero must have certain qualities in order to be considered an Aristotelian tragic hero. Because Okonkwo follows the patterns that Aristotle has set for tragic heroes, he is an Aristotelian tragic hero. Okonkwo is “a man of action, a man of war” (Achebe 7) and a man of prosperity. From a young age Okonkwo “brought honor to his village” (1) when he defeated, the unconquerable, Amalinze the cat in an annual wrestling match. Later in life, through hard work and determination, Okonkwo made himself a wealthy farmer. He was also a fearless warrior who was a key figure in the two intertribal wars that Umuofia fought in. Since his childhood, Okonkwo has always strived for respect and prosperity, and as an adult, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond.” (1). Aristotle stated that all tragic heroes are characters who once held…show more content…
From page one of Things Fall Apart the readers are introduced to Okonkwo’s tragic flaw. His tragic flaw is his fear of failure, and this fear is the result of his father’s unproductive life and disgraceful death. When Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was alive, he was known as a lazy person, a debtor, and a failure throughout the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo states that his father was “poor and his [Unoka’s] wife and children had just barely enough to eat.” (5). Observing his father’s failures, Okonkwo decided that he would never be like his father. However, Okonkwo’s goal to be the polar opposite of his father leads Okonkwo to fear failure which in turn leads to his

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