• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Compare Hero by Mick Gowar and Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

    Can you? Ozymandias seems to be set in an ancient civilisation. The most likely one was Ancient Greece because of the description of the statue and surrounding area. Also, in the first line the poet says 'I met a traveller from an antique land', although he could have been an Aztec, Inca or an Ancient Egyptian.

  2. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    In addition to Seisachtheia, Solon encouraged skilled craftsmen to live and work in Athens, giving them citizenship and additional perks within the law, which was an excellent idea that greatly expanded the diversity of the workforce. In the United Kingdom in the year 2010, a similar system is used in

  1. Roman Religion

    '...Old Age, forlorn, Fear, Hunger...'are just some of those mentioned. The people must suffer first before being rewarded.

  2. Was Britain Worth The Romans Invading?

    This is obviously a very important title to be given, as it suggests he like a god. Also, all future emperors were named after him. This may have been because of his other achievements, but invading Britain was, arguably, one of his greatest accomplishments.

  1. Classical Tragic Hero's

    "The sin, the sin of the erring soul" (Watling 15). Although Creon has had punishment inflicted upon him, Tandon 2 his body remains untouched. His physical state is untouched while his emotional state is in grave remorse. Unlike Prometheus, Creon is not suffering from torn flesh, or burning lightning.

  2. Who is the most tragic character in Euripdes' story 'Medea'?

    The Nurse and the tutor, firstly experience tragedy because their mistress, Medea is so upset at the beginning of the play that she wishes to kill herself. The Nurse expresses her sadness saying, "It was too much, I couldn't bear it; I had to come Out here and tell my mistress's wrongs to Earth and heaven".

  1. Medea - Euripides lived during the Golden Age of Athens, the city where he ...

    Tutor - A very minor character, the tutor of the children mainly acts as a messenger, as well as the person responsible for shuffling the children around from place to place. Comprehensive Summary Euripedes' Medea opens in a state of conflict.

  2. Okonkwo's oldest son, Nwoye, yearns for his father's love and compassion and is deprived ...

    But as he projects his image of strength, we find that "His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness"(13). The roots of the fear go deep. "It was not external but lay deep within himself.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work