January 15, 2013
Okonkwo: A Great Man, Tragic Hero
A tragic hero is a archetype who fails to overcome or surpass his/her conflict. The book “Things Fall Apart” included a tragic hero. The book was written by the name of Chinua Achebe. The tragic hero in the book was Okonkwo, a warrior from a village called Umuofia. Chinua Achebe wrote the book with the purpose of showing how someone with high esteem can fall from greatness so dramatically because of that person’s actions. Okonkwo exhibited hubris, had a tragic flaw, and fell from a position of greatness. These were the things that showed that he was tragic hero. An important aspect of a tragic hero is their exhibition of hubris (a Greek term, which means pride). Okonkwo portrayed this quality different times during the course of the book. One instance when he showed hubris is when the village elders gave the missionaries land in the Evil Forest. The elders gave them the land because they thought that the gods would punish the Christians for occupying that land. But, after a while, the Christians were still there unscathed, showing that the gods are ineffective. But because of Okonkwo’s pride he still believed in his gods and persecuted the Christians (page 151). This action showed hubris because his pride was too great to realize that his gods didn’t have power and weren’t real. Another time where Okonkwo showed hubris is when he failed to heed to his maternal elder’s advice. Okonkwo’s uncle told him that the problem with the community today is that the clan doesn’t work together as they did in his time (page 167). This was a sort of warning to Okonkwo. But later on in he book, Okonkwo went ahead and did things without the content of all the members of the clan. This was a major example of hubris portrayed Okonkwo that eventually led to his downfall. These examples of hubris shown by Okonkwo show how he is a tragic hero. Other than the portrayal of hubris, there...