Leading By Example or Wealth

863 Words4 Pages
Thousands rush daily to view the Mona Lisa by Leonardo di Vinci and pass judgments on the painting. To a child the painting is simply the picture of a woman who is not smiling, but to most art critiques; it is one of the greatest portraits of all time. Viewers are able to form their own opinions resulting in motley of perspectives on a single item. Chinua Achebe’s tragic novel, Things Fall Apart, has a hero who, through the perspective of various critiques, can be interpreted as both a positive and negative leader through his morals and wealth. When the power struggle begins in the novel, a Marxist view of the events shows the reasons why the protagonist is in power and how he loses that power. Through the emotions of the protagonist, a psychoanalyst sees his motivation and the psychological effects power has on his behavior. Viewing the protagonist’s leadership through various techniques creates a dual perspective of leadership and how not all leaders are necessarily good leaders. On initial glance, a Marxist critique approves of Okonkwo’s power because of his wealth but changes vantage points as the protagonist gradually loses his power. Achebe’s tragic hero, Okonkwo, is initially seen as a result of his Ibo culture raised in the belief that through displays of wealth and grandeur “he would return with a flourish” and gain power (171). On page 32 of Joseph Badaraco’s article , “Question of Character”¸ he claims Okonkwo’s beliefs and ethics were “shaped by the traditions and practices of his people” which causes him to have narrow views. The environment the protagonist is raised in shapes his leadership qualities which help his ability to lead the Ibo people successfully based upon their morals. Okonkwo’s wealth and pow... ... middle of paper ... ...e and positive leadership traits urging the reader to form her own opinion. Through the perspective of a Marxist, Okonkwo’s power stems from his vast wealth rather than his accomplishments. Okonkwo is able to keep his power until he loses his socio-economic status making him a proletariat rather than a bourgeoisie. From the viewpoint of a psychoanalyst, Okonkwo does not possess the necessary moral strength needed to lead his Ibo tribe. Because of his extreme desire to be independent, the tragic hero is unable to shed his masculine exterior and embrace the help of others. Although Okonkwo has the occasional positive leadership moment, he is unable to fully embrace all aspects of his power. In the face of adversity, Okonkwo cannot decipher between his lacking moral code and the qualities needed to be a successful leader resulting in his ultimate loss of power.
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