How Is Okonkwo A Tragedy

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Tragic figures are often complex characters who bring suffering to others, and are catalysts in the development of the work’s central tragedy. In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, the protagonist Okonkwo plays a crucial role in the tragic vision of the work. The novel depicts Okonkwo’s life across many years and his rise and fall in the context of tribal life and early colonialism. Throughout the novel Okonkwo represents a tragic figure whose complex personality and values lead to the suffering of his son, the white missionaries, the tribe, and ultimately himself. This suffering thus leads to the novel’s fundamental crisis, which is the undoing of Okonkwo, who is representative of the downfall of an entire culture and community. One…show more content…
This culminates in Okonkwo’s suicide the main tragedy of the novel which is representative of a deeper tragedy of a culture’s nearing end. Throughout the novel Okonkwo causes those around him to endure many hardships. His actions have serious consequences that affect both him and the tribe as a whole. As the novel progresses his flaws get the best of him again and again and when he can take it no more he commits suicide. This act of complete disgrace towards his tribe leaves the reader with the impression of something much more profound than and end to a man’s life. It is symbolic of his entire culture’s end. Okonkwo was one of the most firm believers of his culture’s values and his death represents the end the resistance of the white man. The novel shifts to the perspective of the District Commissioner as if to say that they have won, and their dominance is inevitable now. The fall of Okonkwo and the imminent fall of Umuofia is slice of life in Nigeria and many other parts of Africa during the colonial period. The novel presents both the positive and negative side of cultures intermingling and raises the question of whether cultures mixing is ultimately a beneficial process or leads to the erasure of culture
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