Okonkwo: A Tragic Hero

Good Essays
Throughout literary history, tragic characters have helped readers to understand human conflicts. Authors such as William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien have included tragic heroes in their novels in order to examine various flaws that lead to the protagonist’s death. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the main character, Macbeth, displays characteristics commonly present in tragic characters when he says “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” (Shakespeare 349). This quote demonstrates Macbeth’s vaulting ambition and how he has reached the point of no return and will eventually face his death. Various characteristics define a character as tragic and the technical…show more content…
Despite Okonkwo’s good intentions to be a better father to Nwoye than his father was to him, Nwoye becomes distant from his father as the story progresses. When Okonkwo is given Ikemefuna to take care of, he becomes very fond of the boy and likes him much more than Nwoye. This causes Nwoye to feel left out and create even more separation from his father. The distance that Nwoye sets between himself and Okonkwo, scares Okonkwo greatly because it makes him feel like a failure. Being a failure terrifies Okonkwo so much that he is driven insane to his inevitable death. In addition to the conflict with Nwoye, Okonkwo’s greater conflict is the task of becoming a prominent leader within the Ibo tribe, and it eventually leads to his downfall. From the beginning of the novel Okonkwo is one of the most powerful, respected men in the tribe, and is “well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements” (Achebe 1). Okonkwo is very powerful socially and financially, as well as being one of the lands greatest wrestlers. Even though he has lots of power, Okonkwo always strives for more. This avariciousness is one of the sparks that ignites the flame that consumes his life. When Okonkwo is exiled from Umofia, he is devastated and he realizes, “his life had been ruled by a great passion-to become one of the lords of the clan… And
Get Access