'"'Novelists have a less or more sympathetic interest in the contradictions of human behavior.'"' In what ways, and by what means, are such contradictions presented in the works you have read?
Novelists Achebe and Goethe realize that people are not constants, reasoning that although people certainly have flaws, they can still be admired and achieve greatness. Authors show that contradictions are not necessarily the marks of an irrational person. In each of the novels Things Fall Apart and The Sorrows of Young Werther, the protagonist has a defining trait that primarily determines his actions and values. The protagonists of the novels are initially presented with greatness and admiration, but end with a tragic fall. Portraying the protagonist"'"s central characteristic as the cause of two polar ends of the character, his greatness and weakness, Achebe and Goethe show sympathy for the contradictory elements of human nature.
Okonkwo"'"s definitive trait is his rage and resentment of his father, Unoka.
In the Igbo tribe, strength is a quality vital to a man advancing in its community. Because of Okonkwo"'"s achievements, such as winning inter-tribal wrestling matches and wars, via strength, his tribe regards him as '"'one of the greatest men of his time.'"' (p. 8). Okonkwo"'"s aspires to strength, success, and greatness in the Igbo tribe because Unoka"'"s defining trait, weakness, led to failure in the tribe. Okonkwo is '"'...ruled by one passio--to hate everything that his father Unoka loved'"' (Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart, p. 13). Publically, Okonkwo is rigid and emotionally isolated, while internally, he harbors a struggle between the rage originating from his resentment of Unoka, which fuels his public self side, and a natural sense of inadequacy: '"'down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear...