Okonkwo: a Life Story of a Tragic Hero

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MyEsha Moore
Honors English II- Hyatt
May 23, 2012
Things Fall Apart Final Literally Analysis Essay
Okonkwo: A Life Story of a Tragic Hero
What makes up a hero in today’s society? Young children today imagine a hero with superpowers and a cape, but little do they know heroes come in many different forms. In his novel, Things Fall Apart, the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe illustrates the making of modern hero. Even though Okonkwo does not act like a regular hero, he still has a noble structure, makes mistakes throughout life, and experiences a great downfall. Elijah Wood once said “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” Growing up, the Umuofia clan did not consider Okonkwo noble because of his impecunious father, Unoka: “Unoka was, of course, a debtor, and he owed every neighbor some money, from a few cowries to quite substantial amount” (Achebe 5). When Unoka died ten years ago he has taken no title at all and left Okonkwo in debt. Greatly ashamed of his father, he based many of his beliefs about how life should be lived by doing the exact opposite of his father. Okonkwo’s nobility all begins about twenty years ago, when his clan announces him the best wrestler. This all happened when Amalinze the Cat- seven year champion- who fights Okonkwo; however, Okonkwo throws the Cat and won the match. Meanwhile, a war was going on in Mbaino, so in the nine villages of Umuofia, all the men must be present tomorrow morning. Umuofia needed a young man and a virgin: “He was a man of action, a man of war” (10). Okonkwo leaves for Mbaino knowing not to suspect upon his arrival. Okonkwo suffers various hamartia or mistakes that he truly regrets. Okonkwo starts out being his town hero; however, his biggest flaw was having uncontrollable anger, which eventually leads to his violent behavior. Okonkwo violent behavior starts before the Week of Peace. He comes home expecting Ojiungo and dinner she...
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