Things Fall Apart Essay

986 words - 4 pages

Okonkwo is shown as a tragic hero, in the novel Things Fall Apart. To uncover the source of Okonkwo’s tragic flaw, a look into his past is nessacary. At first, we see Okonkwo as an arrogant, hardworking, warrior. This is his cultures vision of a great citizen. His father, Unoka was thought of as a failure. He is lazy and does not provide for his family. His culture views him as an unacceptable and an unsuccessful citizen, and Unoka was looked down upon. Okonkwo set a goal to be everything his father wasn’t. Although this could be a good been a good goal, it is the one which Okonkwo’s tragic flaw arises from. Every person has his faults but with Okonkwo, they ultimately lead to his downfall. ...view middle of the document...

Okonkwo beats his wife during the Week of Peace when she does not send him his food as required. Breaking the rules of the Week of Peace is considered a sin. “We live in peace with our fellows to honor our great goddess earth...the evil you have committed can ruin the whole clan...and we shall all perish”(pg 30). At the New Yam Festival he shoots at his second wife, Ekwefi, but misses. He thought that she had cut down his banana tree, but in reality she had only cut a few leaves. Again this shows his impulsive nature and violent temper.

In addition, Ikemefuna, the boy that was “adopted” into Okonkwo’s family, eventually gains Okonkwo’s love. Although Okonkwo never shows his love for Ikemefuna, in time he calls Okonkwo his father. Inside, Okonkwo wishes that Ikemefuna was his natural son instead of Nwoye. Ikemefuna shows the traits of a great warrior which Okonkwo wants Nwoye to have. When the Oracle of the Hills and Caves orders the death of Ikemefuna, Okonkwo, in order to show his fearlessness, strikes the final blow with his machete, even as the boy is calling to him "My father, they have killed me!"(pg 61). Ogbuefi, the oldest man in the village had asked Okonkwo not to join in the killing of the boy as he called him his father. By Okonkwo killing the boy he has made his second offense against the tribal laws. Okonkwo’s friend, Obrierka, tells him,

“If I were you I would have stayed at home. What you have done will not please the Earth. It is the kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families.”(pg 67). His actions created a frusteration in the clan. Although Okonkwo didn’t want to participate all he thought about was not to be seen by the other villagers as weak. Unfortunately for Okonkwo, he is making things worse off for himself...

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