The Fall of the Tragic Hero, Okonkwo

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Tragic hero Pages: 1 (435 words) Published: May 13, 2014

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe follows the classic model of a tragedy and can be compared to several works, particularly works from antiquity such as Oedipus the King and stories from Shakespeare such as Macbeth and Hamlet. One of the reasons why this is a tragedy and can be related to so many other tragic works is because the main character, Okonkwo, fits the classic example of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is, by short definition, someone who falls because of a tragic flaw and not necessarily because he is a “bad” or evil person. In the novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe defines Okonkwo as the tragic hero because his weakness was his own pride which emphasizes how pride can lead to a terrible downfall. Achebe defines Okonkwo as the tragic hero of the novel, a person of consequence brought down by conflict, or through one’s own weakness. Okonkwo’s weakness was his own pride because of all the titles and wives he has gained throughout his lifetime. “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body” (204). He had so much hate for the men who locked him plus five other men and got so mad when they hit them with sticks. Due to that he couldn’t control his emotions and he killed the messenger. Because he did not want to face further punishments, he committed suicide as well. He is defined as the tragic hero because he had so much pride in himself and he thought that no one could do anything to him. He had so much anger and pride in himself that he couldn’t control his emotions which led him to do things he never thought of doing. Achebe defines Okonkwo as the tragic hero because of his own pride. Even though he was the hero of the Igbo culture, that title turned him to be prideful of himself, which later came back to haunt him. The Igbo culture had made Okonkwo a hero, but the “Igbo” culture changed with the coming of the British Colonizers. Okonkwo, a hero, would rather die than be humiliated by his enemies and...
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