The description given early in the novel clearly establishes his character as being a strong and wealthy man who is well respected among the rest of the tribe due to his superior fighting abilities and his influential personality. Having achieved such elite status within the Umuofia clan, Okonkwo appears to be old-fashioned as it is seen in his approach in raising his family and tribal people. However, Okonkwo’s character changes incrementally with the emergence of a boy, Ikemefuna, from a neighboring village, who was brought to him because of his brutal attack against his wife Ojiugo during the ‘week of peace’. Amongst the Umuofia clan, the ‘week of peace’ is a tribal ritual whose conditions are not to complete any evil sins in a certain week span. After having accepted Ikemefuna into the family, Okonkwo experiences a shift in his mental state. Shortly hereafter, he questions this change, which demonstrates his lack of willingness to change which is clearly demonstrated in the book in several different ways like in chapter Eight, Okonkwo proclaims to himself, “When did you become a shivering old woman, you, who are known in all nine villages for your valour in war” (Achebe 56). This represents that his character has become a weaker, less influential individual amongst the nine tribes where he is well known. Symbolically, this depicts a fragile reputation in Okonkwo’s status within the community to which he belongs.
For all of his desire to be strong, Okonkwo is caught up by the constant fear of being perceived as weak. He is afraid of failure and afraid of being considered weak. This fear drives him to do whatever he can to not become a failure like his father which ironically contributes to his death. While Okonkwo was a strong and important figure in his tribe, he had to keep his reputation that way by making some hard decisions. One of them was when he had to kill Ikemefuna, a young boy from the neighboring tribe. Okonkwo started accepting the decision to kill Ikemefuna because he started to call Okonkwo father. He had to keep his own valor intact and kill the boy to prevent himself from showing any weakness, but deep down, Okonkwo was really upset because of what he did which was ironic, “’When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked himself, 'you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.'" (Achebe 65). He continued to roll downhill when the white man comes to try and convert Okonkwo’s tribe. Okonkwo responds by killing one of the messengers that were sent. This cause Okonkwo's own tribe to question his actions. “"Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape.
First, Okonkwo starts off as a poor child, as shown when the book states, “Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men usually had, he did not inherit a barn from his father. There was no barn to inherit” showing that Okonkwo and his family were penurious, compared to others in the Igbo tribe (Achebe 16). Eventually, through his hard work and effort, he became a noble leader, which emphasizes his role as a tragic hero. Throughout the story Okonkwo goes through many challenges, but “In the face of futility, however, he maintains his nobility of character”(Gaydosik).
Okonkwo’s fear of unmanliness is kindled by his father, who was a lazy, unaccomplished man. Okonkwo strives to have a high status from a young age and eventually achieves it. He has a large family, many yams and is well known throughout the village for his valor. He
As defined by Aristotle a tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to their own destruction. They are born into nobility and have a fate of their own. One also looks at the background information that influences the character to be a tragic hero. In order to be a tragic character a character has to have certain characteristics. In the novel Antigone, the character Antigone meets all these characteristics making her a tragic character.
A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgement error that inevitably leads to his destruction. Typically not an ordinary man, but is a man with outstanding quality and greatness about himself. His own destruction is is for a greater cause or principle. John Proctor is the perfect example of a tragic hero; his downfall was self inflicted because he thought keeping his name is more important than staying alive.
A definition of a “tragic hero” is, “a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering,or defeat.“tragic hero”
Chinua Achebe unfolds a variety of interesting connections between characters in the Novel Things Fall Apart. Relationships with parents, children and inner self are faced differently, however the attitude that Okonkwo gave them determined what kind of outcome he generated from these relations. Okonkwo looks at everything through his violent and manly perspective and is afraid to show his real feelings because he thinks that he may be thought out as weak and feminine this paranoid attitude lead him to self-destruction.
Going back to the novel, we see Okonwo, who is extremely shocked by the twists which take place in his tribe as a cultural revolution. He sees their ancient religion giving its place to Christianity, and their father’s culture and traditions, which his life was based on, fall apart. To make things even worse, his own son turns his back to him. Okonkwo can not stand this as a result he tries to fight against the people who were the creators of this disaster. But as he fails, he commits suicide, preferring to kill himself, rather than let those strangers kill him.
Upon an initial reading of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, it is easy to blame the demise of Okonkwo’s life and of the Umofia community on the imperialistic invasions of the white men. After all, Okonkwo seemed to be enjoying relative peace and happiness before then. He did have a few mishaps; one of them resulted in him being exiled for eight years. Nonetheless, he returned to his home town with high spirits and with prospects of increased success. However, everything has changed. The white men have brought with them a new religion and a new government. Okonkwo’s family falls apart. The men in his village lose their courage and valor; they do not offer any resistance to the white men. Consequently, Okonkwo kills
Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is someone of great importance or royalty. The hero must go through something terrible such as a relative’s death. We must feel what this character is feeling throughout the story. Aristotle also said that a tragic hero scan be defeated by a tragic flaw, such as hubris or human pride. In Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, both Creon and Antigone are tragic heroes.
By definition, a tragic hero is a protagonist that due to some tragic flaw loses everything he has. Throughout history, literature has always been filled with main characters possessing some tragic flaw. In Macbeth, Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his enormous ambition to become king. In Hamlet, Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his need for revenge for the death of his father at the hands of his uncle. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s tragic flaw is his need to be remembered. In the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, Beowulf also has a tragic flaw, excessive pride and the search for fame, which ultimately leads to his demise.
A Tragic Hero is a common figure in many of Shakespeare’s works. A Tragic Hero is usually a figure of royalty, fame or greatness. This person is predominately good, but falls from prominence due to personality flaws that eventually lead to self-destruction.