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Okonkwothe Tragic Hero

Accordingto the western traditional definition of a tragic hero, the hero is aprotagonist of mix character of good and evil. In Chinua Achebe book‘Things Falls Apart’, the account depicts the collapse of thecatastrophic hero Okonkwo, who starts out well as a lucky personregarding leadership, wealth, and a big family but end up committingsuicide. Thus, the paper will portray how Okonkwoembraces a rank of authority and cachet, decides his strategy,possesses a tragic flaw of ‘weakness and failure’ and discovershis doom shortly after his deed.

Firstly,the tragic hero entails a real character of the person with highprestige. Okonkwo is famous in the whole village Umofia due to his“personal achievements” (Achebe, 1). Okonkwo is legendary andrespected in his village and even far beyond because of defeatingundefeatable fighter for last seven good years known as “Amalinzethe Cat” (Achebe, 1). Similarly, he hates indolent people like hisfather, Unoka because he is lazy and weak and could not even teachhim right or wrong things in living. As a result, he forces hisfamily to work for long hours despite their age or physical staminaand often beat his wives and son Nwoye who he thinks resembles hisfather.

Notwithstandingthe fact that he does not inherit any property from his father, heworks with determinations as a farmer “from cock-crow until thechickens went to roost” and becomes a wealthy person full ofrespect (Achebe, 5). His wealthy is “visible in his household”because he has a large compound bounded by a thick red-earthed wall(Achebe, 5). Additionally, Okonkwo has three wives and eight kids,and each wife has her shelter with hens’ attachment as well, thereis a central barn full of yams and fat goats’ shed (Achebe, 5). Allthese achievements clearly show that he is a hardworking, wealthy andesteemed person.

Atthe age of 30 years, Okonkwo becomes a great leader and a judge ofUmofia village whom they deem to possess the ancestral resilience. Hebelongs to “the nine Egwugwu “of the kin (Achebe, 44). Inaddition, the village people chose him to represent them in the caseof the killing of the Umofia teenager in Mbiona bazaar. Hesuccessfully wins the case and brings back home a virgin and a boy asa peaceful compensation from the Mbiona Village (Achebe, 4).

Thetragic flaw of Okonkwo is fear of “failure and weakness”associated with his father. (Achebe, 2). Even though this tragic flawdrives Okonkwo to work incredibly hard and becoming rich and arespected person in the village, it leads him into many troubles. Dueto fearing to fail and appearing weak in the society just like hisfather, Okonkwo finds himself acting rashly, severely andaggressively to other people including his family members. He onlyuses force to solve his problem, and due to this altitude, he facesmany conflicts with family members, society, and gods which lead tohis demise.

Forexample, during the quiet week, Okonkwo defiles the decree of theclan and nearly shoots his second wife who comments about “the gunthat never shots” (Achebe, 14). He also beats the youngest wifeheavily because of visiting a friend (Achebe, 10). He also slayIkemefuna who was his sons’ close friend despite being warned bythe clan’s member not to kill him, but he precedes and kills himbecause he feared to be a “weak person” (Achebe, 22). He alsokills another clansman with his gun. Killing of clansman is notacceptable in the village as well as by the gods, and therefore thesolution for the killer is to flee from the village for seven years.Additionally, Okonkwo compound is totally burned, and all his animalskilled to cleanse “the land which Okonkwo had polluted…’’(Achebe, 46). Going into the exile and demolition of his propertiesmarked the beginning of his doom.

Afterreturning from the exile, Okonkwo tragic flaw continues to drive himto the low heights of his miserly. First, he returns home only tofind that villagers do not receive him well as he expected. In fact,another man had already taken his position in Egwugwu as soon as heleaves for the banish (Achebe, 60). However, the worst part of it iswhen he discovers that the white people has settled in the villageand started attacking Igbo traditions and faith through changing themto Christians and initiating formal education (Achebe, 50). Okonkwobecomes heartbroken because of the current situation and persuadesthe village to drive away the white men violently.

However,the clans’ men refuse and tell him that some of the people supportthe white people (Achebe, 62).Afterward, his character also leadshim to murder one of five British court messengers during the clans’meeting, but the rest of members allow “the other agents to escape”making him realize his tragic end (Achebe, 72). He now knows verywell that he is utterly defeated because none of the clans’ memberjoins him to chase the white men and stop influencing Umofia people. Later he decides to hang himself, and his body is discovered danglingon a tree, and this is an abomination of Igbo people (Achebe, 73). Thus a man who was highly respected end up dooming up to appointwhere his can only be buried by strangers because he is a tragichero.


Booker,M. Keith.&nbspThingsFall Apart, by Chinua Achebe.Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2011. Print.

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