Okonkwo Tragic Hero Analysis

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The ancient greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle who is famous for his studies with Plato and for teaching Alexander the Great was also the mind behind the concept of tragic hero. A tragic hero, he depicts, is a hero who falls from affluence to calamity. This fall must be caused not by ill luck but at the fault of the tragic hero himself. To be considered a tragic hero aristotle had specific criteria. Goodness, being the first. A tragic hero must have good morals and their actions should follow suit. Appropriateness, the character must fit into the role they play in society. Lifelike, the tragic hero must be realistic. Finally, Consistency the character must portray identifiable traits throughout the entire story. To identify a…show more content…
The very first lines of this novel read, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements” (Achebe 1). In the Igbo tribe of Nigeria manliness and personal achievements are of high importance. To appropriately fit in with the tribe men must prove their manhood and dominance while women must be submissive. These ideals are demonstrated when Okonkwo’s son Nwoye is pondering over his father’s manliness and his own feminine side. Achebe writes, “Nwoye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent [...]” (Achebe 53) The theme of men having to be masculine is through the novel and Okonkwo appropriately fits into that which makes him qualify Aristotle's second criteria. Okonkwo is lifelike. Despite being overtly manly and very renowned in his community Okonkwo does make mistakes and is reprimanded for them. Okonkwo broke the Week of Peace, by beating one of his four wives. By the clan’s standards his anger was justifiable. His youngest wife had not come home in time to cook dinner and instead was out with her friends. When she returned home he beat her, forgetting it was the week of peace. Okonkwo was then punished for this fit of rage, “Okonkwo broke the peace, and was punished, was was the custom, by Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess”(Achebe 29). Okonkwo's faults and mistakes make hima lifelike and believable
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