Okonkwo as a tragic hero

Essay by rrowsam2951High School, 10th gradeA, March 2008

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In Chinua Achebe’s book Things Fall Apart the main character Okonkwo is a tragic hero. Aristotle said that a good tragic hero must fall because of some character flaw. In Okonkwo’s case; fear, pride, and anger are his tragic flaws. This book teaches us about human nature.

Okonkwo’s fear led to his downfall. It did so because he was afraid of being lazy and week or “womanish” like his father Unko. He also wanted to have titles and be respected unlike his father. Okonkwo’s dad was a bad, lazy farmer. He could not blame himself for his crop problems so he went to a spirit and clamed he was cursed. The spirit said he wasn’t cursed and he should go fix it himself. Okonkwo was afraid of being like that so he took it upon himself to fix his problems if he had any. Unko also did not do much for the community.

Okonkwo grew up to be a success and tried to do everything he could for the community. He also got many titles. Okonkwo also feared weakness. He would do anything to be seen as strong, even kill his son. Okonkwo killed his son Ikemefuna in the evil forest because he was ‘afraid of being thought weak” by his tribe. Fear was also a part of his downfall because he did not fear the Christians at first. “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” Pg. 152. Instead of fearing the Christians and talking caution they were amused by...