n his delineation of the defining factors of a tragic hero, Aristotle drew on the archetypes established in Greek tragedies by such masters as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Because this type of hero occurred often, and these three great tragedians ' works served as a basis for later writers, the archetype persisted in European literature, as evidenced in works by authors such as Shakespeare. A major question that arises, then, is whether the tragic hero is a purely European archetype, perpetuated as a result of prominent Greek tragedies, or whether he occurs throughout all human culture and was captured by the Greeks in an example of a universally human character. The main character of Chinua Achebe 's novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, offers a potential solution for this dilemma, given both his and Achebe 's Nigerian nationality. Despite the tragic elements of his story, however,
Okonkwo, in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, was faced with many hardships in his life. When growing up he had to deal with a lazy father, then when he was older he had to kill a boy that called him father, and he also accidentally killed a young boy from his village. These events played a very tragic role in Okonkwos life.
The character of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was driven by fear, a fear of change and losing his self-worth. He needed the village of Umuofia, his home, to remain untouched by time and progress because its system and structure were the measures by which he assigned worth and meaning in his own life. Okonkwo required this external order because of his childhood and a strained relationship with his father, which was also the root of his fears and subsequent drive for success. When the structure of Umuofia changed, as happens in society, Okonkwo was unable to adapt his methods of self-evaluation and ways of functioning in the world; the life he was determined to live could not survive a new environment and collapsed around him.
Okonkwo’s true nature was clearly only reflected around those he closest to him, many times only under intimate or special circumstances. As his true masculinity, his unrealised and under expressed fondness for those he loved, and his overly expressed fiery temper, was shown to the greatest extent only around those closest to him. This deeply developed the character, and heightened the sense of Okonkwo being a tragic hero in Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart.
The struggle between custom values and conversion is a universally applied theme to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The fable like, tragic tone of the work was set off from the very first page. The verb FALL APART has 4 senses to lose one's emotional or mental composure, go to pieces, break or fall apart into fragments, and to become separated into pieces or fragments. These are all exemplified in the novel Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is a tragic hero in the traditional sense. His fate was decided for him and was unavoidable. Okonkwo’s inability to act rationally and express his feelings in a anthropological manner leads to his inescapable demise. Okonkwo exhibits the characteristics of a tragic hero not only by encompassing an unexceptional flaw. Okonkwo not only developed this flaw because of his erroneous equivalence of masculinity with being filled with relentless fury, vehemence, and impetuousness, but also because he leads to his own self-annihilation.
Within the Obi tribe, Okonkwo is an important man, who has risen from nothing to a man of great wealth and social status. Okonkwo is obsessed with masculinity, and he has a very narrow view of “manliness”. Okonkwo's relationship with his dead father is the root of his violent and ambitious conduct. He wants to rise above his father's legacy of laziness, which he views as weak and therefore feminine. This drive and fierce pride made him a great man, but they are also the source of all of his faults.
In Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is an extremely complex character who experiences a variety of emotions which he has a difficult time controlling. He experiences a never ending battle of psychosomatic symptoms, starting with his obsession over the conflict of the past with his father, Unoka. Okonkwo portrays himself as a heroic, strong warrior, only to mask the feelings of intense anger, fear, and selfishness that provokes him, which inevitably leads him down the same path as his father. He feels a strong hatred towards his father because he believes that his father had no masculine qualities, he owed everyone money, and owned no titles. Achebe states:
Abame, a village almost identical to Umuofia, had recently been wiped out by the strange visit of white men. The area in which this story takes place has never seen these albino people, and most of the villages didn’t believe the stories that these men exist. After the first arrival of a white man, Abame consulted the Oracle, who in return, foretold the demise of the clan if they were to let him free. As a result, Abame killed the intruder, and laid the matter to rest. However, even after many market weeks, their precaution led to the anger of the man’s party. On a popular market day the white men attacked and murdered the entire village, and only a small band of refugees were able to survive. When hearing of the innocent slaughter of the tribe, Uchendu tells the story of Mother Kite and her daughter, who are
From birth Okonkwo had wanted his son, Nwoye, to be a great warrior like him. His son instead rebelled and wanted to be nothing like Okonkwo. Okonkwo would not change so that his son would idolize him, as he had wanted since his son's birth. He chose not to acknowledge his son's existence instead. This would weigh heavily on anyone's conscience, yet Okonkwo does not let his relationship with his son affect him in the least bit.
by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo depicts his masculinity in many different ways, even if it hurts the people closest to him. He feels it is necessary to display his manliness so he does not end up like his father Unoka. “He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had no patience with his father” (4). Okonkwo correlates virility with aggression and feels the only emotion he should show is anger, leaving him no way to cope with the death of his culture.
"Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all." (Aristotle). In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is living proof of Aristotle's statement. Although he is arguably the most powerful man in Umuofia, His personal flaws of fear of failure and uncontrollable anger do not allow him true greatness as a human being.
In this book, there are many things that begin to fall apart for Okonkwo. One thing that stood out to me the most was the way that Okonkwo’s life began to fall apart. From a rough childhood, to him killing a boy that looked to him as a father, to his daughter getting sick. Part of that is because of his own actions and wanting to be everything his father wasn’t. Okonkwo hated his father ever since he was a young boy. His relationship with his father was a non-factor because Okonkwo had no patience for unsuccessful men and men who couldn’t provide for their families and his father was just that. His father, Unoka was a coward, he was weak, in debt and because of that Okonkwo didn’t have a good start in life like he should have. Because Okonkwo
A character with a tragic flaw is one who consistently makes a particular error in their actions and this eventually leads to their doom. Okonkwo, a perfect tragic character, is driven by his fear of unmanliness, which causes him to act harshly toward his fellow tribesmen, his family and himself. He judges all people by how manly they act. In Okonkwo’s eyes a man is a violent, hard working, wealthy person and anyone who does not meet these standards he considers weak.
Okonkwo wanted to become one of the greatest men in the Ibo tribe, but three unfortunate events occur bringing him closer to his end. Okonkwo was a proud, industrious figure who through hard work was able to elevate himself to a stature of respect and prominence in his community. The one major character flaw was that he was a man driven by his fear to extreme reactions. Okonkwo was petrified of inadequacy namely because his father was a complete and utter failure. This fear of shortcoming made him hate everything his father loved and represented: weakness, gentleness, and idleness. Who was Okonkwo, well Okonkwo was a hero and also he...
Okonkwo takes his life as he sees himself a lone warrior in a society of weaklings. This isolation is truly imposed by his decision of how to handle the conflicts which he encounters. His unitary channeling of emotions, cultural inflexibility, and tendency to seek physical confrontation are compiled into a single notion. The idealized vision of a warrior by which Okonkwo lives is the instrument that leads to the climax of Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart: Okonkwo's demise.