Okonkwo As A Tragic Hero In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

951 Words4 Pages
W.H. Auden once touched on a tragic heroes downfall saying, "The truly tragic kind of suffering is the kind produced and defiantly insisted upon by the hero himself so that, instead of making him better, it makes him worse and when he dies he is not reconciled to the law but defiant." In order to understand the motives behind a tragic heroes ultimate collapse, we must delve deeper into who they were from the beginning, as well as how their actions contributed to their own devastating fate. Okonkwo, the protagonist, faces constant struggles within himself to maintain a hard earned reputation and respect from those in his village, Umuofia. Unfortunately, his this disposition may be a primary cause to issues he faces in future circumstances. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo adheres to common attributes presented by a classic tragic hero because he is viewed as a great man and experienced a fatal downfall. Okonkwo demonstrates his qualities as a tragic hero because he is seen by the people in Umuofia as a great man. While most see Okonkwos mistreatments towards his wives and lack of character development, the villagers see his achievements growing yams and many titles, thus portraying him as a good man. To further prove Okonkwo as a tragic hero, a man at his feast proclaims, "It is good in these days when the younger generation consider themselves wiser than their sires to see a man doing things in the grand, old way. A man who calls his kinsmen to a Wright 2

feast does not do so to save them from starving." While the man could have described Okonkwo as standoffish, insecure, and a generally unlikable character, he expresses true interest and admiration towards him. The mans comments prove to be a big role is deciding Okonkwo as a tragic hero, because it thoroughly expresses general thoughts that many around also deem truthful. When he praises Okonkwos kinship and respect towards his family, as well as his generosity for hosting such a grand feast, Okonkwo takes the compliments with pride(as per usual). As all of the men sitting around the table applaud Okonkwo, he proves to be a solid man. In the light of expressing him as a great man, Nawakibie, a man of many titles, says,

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