Books and Movies Reviews

Things Fall Apart: Okonkwo as a Tragic Hero

In Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo plays the role of a tragic hero destined to fall from his lofty titles.From a small child, he struggled to be the opposite of his father.When working to be successful, Okonkwo "threw himself into it like one possessed.And indeed he was possessed by the fear of his father's contemptible life and shameful death."Although his father was ill-fated in the eyes of the tribe and his own son, he contained something that Okonkwo never had:humility and happiness in simple things.Even when they took Unoka, his father, away to be left in the evil forest to die, he took his flute, a source of happiness.So Okonkwo with his characteristics doomed for tragedy, led a seemingly successful life, though a tragic flaw of pride and wrong decisions robbed him of his self fantasized gilded life.
Since tragedy involves the “fall” of a tragic hero, one theory is that one must have a lofty position to fall from, or else there is no tragedy (just sorrow). Another explanation of this characteristic is that tragedies involving people of stature affect the lives of others. In the case of Okonkwo, the tragedy did not only involve him and his family, it also involved the whole society.In the end of the novel, the District Commissioner tells of the novel he is writing called The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger, and how Okonkwo's story would be a perfect edition.The title of the book is a prophesy of what is to come for the fated African tribe.
Secondly, the tragic hero must “fall” due to some flaw in his own personality. The most common tragic flaw is hubris (excessive pride). One who tries to attain too much possesses hubris.Okonkwo is definitely a depiction of one with hubris.At the early age of adolescence, he asked one of the leaders in the tribe for yam seeds to start his own crop to become wealthy.Then after his exile, Okonkwo…

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