Okonkwo Is a Tragic Hero

861 WordsMar 30, 20064 Pages
Okonkwo is the protagonist in the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart is about Okonkwo rule by success and fuel by the absolute resentment of becoming like his father, Unoka. Okonkwo chooses to live life by creating fear and anger to his tribe and his family. Okonkwo is ruled by fear and anger, which takes part in his ultimate downfall. Okonkwo is not so much a martyr but a tragic hero because he is a man of importance brought down by an insurmountable amount of conflict within himself due to his tragic flaws and the dominating cultural influence that threatens change in a traditional society. Since Okonkwo is a tragic hero, he must have tragic flaws. The first of which is his obsession with war, fighting, and…show more content…
Okonkwo felt love and pity for the boy BUT he feared that his manliness might be in question. Okonkwo 's ultimate fear is becoming like his father, worthless, without honor, and buried above ground without honor and respect. In Okonkwo 's culture weakness is often related to femininity. Therefore Okonkwo must always rise above his society by achieving manly accomplishments and doing things that are manly and not feminine. In order for these flaws to be tragic flaws they each much contribute to his downfall. Okonkwo 's downfall happens when he returns to his original tribe after being exiled for seven years when he accidentally shot Ezeudu 's sixteen-year-old son. He found that the missionaries had established a church not only in his mother 's land to which he was banished but also here in his homeland: "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 as one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart." (176) Okonkwo feels that the only way to drive out the missionaries is to take a war like lead in the situation. He begins to show signs of aggression and rebellion when Enoch, a converted Ibo, interrupts the annual worship ceremony of the earth goddess. By doing so, Enoch had killed an ancestral spirit, and Umuofia 's very foundation is thrown into chaos.
Open Document