According to Webster’s dictionary, a tragic hero can be defined as a protagonist who is otherwise perfect except for flaws that are intrinsic to his or her character, which often leads to his or her demise. In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, the protagonist is unlike tragic heroes such as Beowulf and Oedipus because he is not born into nobility, but has to rise to fame and earn respect through his hard work and his unrivaled success in defeating, the famous Amalinze the Cat. Like Beowulf and Oedipus, Okonkwo shares traits that are characteristic of a tragic hero. These traits reveal his mortal fear of failure and his fear of becoming like his father who is considered to be lazy and poor. Okonkwo also possesses an unwavering pride and an irrepressible anger. Pride, fear and anger are some of the traits of a tragic hero that are inherent in Okonkwo, and this paper will reveal how these traits contributed to his downfall. His connection of manliness with ferocity and recklessness eventually lead to his downfall. Okonkwo finds it difficult to accept the changes the Missionaries have brought to Umuofia. The missionaries change the way the people of Umuofia think, leading to an irreversible division among the people.
Pride is defined as a high opinion of one 's own dignity, importance, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing or conduct. A proud person always considers himself or herself superior to others even though the case might not be quite true. In most cases they are trying to cover up their insecurities and giving themselves confidence that they do not have. The result of this behavior is always the opposite of w...
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...body is taken to the evil forest just like his fathers because he died of swelling which was an abomination to the earth goddess (18). Okonkwo is downgraded by the District Commissioner when he says that his life story is only worth a paragraph: “the story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could almost write a chapter on him. Perhaps not a chapter, but a reasonable paragraph at any rate (209).” Even though Okonkwo is a successful man according to Umuofia’s beliefs of what being successful means, he loses all he has due to pride, fear and uncontrollable anger. His aversion to reflecting on problems forces him to behead the messenger with a machete and when he realizes that his clans’ men are not inspired by his show of violence to war with the missionaries, he commits suicide to avoid humiliation.
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