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Is Okonkwo a tragic hero deserving of our sympathy or a violent, inflexible bully?

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Is Okonkwo a tragic hero deserving of our sympathy or a violent, inflexible bully? Tragic heroes exemplify a number of qualities including courage and some type of personal sacrifice. The character Okonkwo in the novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, demonstrates many of the characteristics of a tragic hero. However, he also exhibits many qualities not representatives of a tragic hero. There are many ways to define a tragic hero but there are few marks that all of these figures must possess. First they must fit the typical classification of a hero: not only does a hero display bravery, but he also is willing to act on his intentions. Basically, a hero does what ordinary citizens will not or cannot do. In addition to exhibiting these characteristics, a tragic hero must sacrifice something of his own. ...read more.


Okonkwo consistently acted out of fear and made decisions based on how he would reflect on his reputation (But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness.). Nobody could change his mind and way to see the world that surrounded him; for him, any kind of tenderness is a sign of weakness and effeminacy. Male power lies in authority and brute force; a good example was when he killed Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna was a young man who lived in Okonkwo's compound. They both had come to love and care for each other. Ikemefuna called Oknokwo father and Oknokwo thought of him as a son. Umuofia decided to kill Ikemefuna and Oknokwo was warned not to take part in his death. Despite the warning he still took part in his murder. ...read more.


So he decided to take matters into his own hands. During a village meeting in the middle of the marketplace and in front of most villagers he killed the head messenger of the new religion. Okonkwo knew the District Commissioner was going to murder him for killing his messenger, so he hung himself. Okonkwo hung himself because he was unable to maintain a particular faith, and he takes the easiest way out, the way of the coward. Okonkwo killed himself because he refused to change, he gave up before he had done any good and therefore failed in his quest to save the clan (He wiped his matchet on the sand and went away). In my opinion Okonkwo brought himself to his own destruction. Everybody makes mistakes; it's just that some mistakes could lead us to a fatal end, like the ones that Okonkwo made. He was too proud to respect anybody or anything that didn't coincide with his believes; this ultimately destroyed him. Cecy Palacios Reyes ...read more.

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