Character Analysis of Okonkwo Things Fall Apart

Read this article to know about the character analysis of Okonkwo tragic hero in Things Fall Apart.

Okonkwo Character Analysis

-Cinedine Amyzene

Okonkwo character analysis

Okonkwo is considered to be a tragic hero in Umofia, and the protagonist in Things Fall Apart. In his case, a tragic hero held the positions of prestige and power. He is a leader of the Igbo community and more specifically a son of the lazy Unoka. He did strive to make his way out in the world that seemed to have value for manliness. His father Unoka was indolent, lazy spendthrift, poor, placid, had interest in music and showed a high level of cowardice (Chinua Achebe, 1959).

However, unlike his father, Okonkwo did adopt the opposite dealings which enabled him to achieve a greater height. He was known to be a fierce warrior and renowned wrestler who was popular and successful in yam farming. These comprise of becoming productive, thrifty, brave, wealthy, violent and he was strongly opposed to music and other soft items such as emotions and conversations.

Besides, he was quite apathetic to a fault. Okonkwo is one of the characters who achieved a greater loftiness by embracing various ideals in life. First and foremost, he got married to three wives who sired several children to him. He did stick to their culture even after the introduction of the European cultures which were brought by the whites who lived in their midst.


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Even though Okwonkwo was viewed to be a tragic hero, he had tragic flaws which were the sole cause of his downfall. It is the question of manliness with anger, rashness and violence which catalysed his destructions and downfall. At times, he was gruff, and he could not be able to fully express his feelings. Most of the time, his feelings were being referred to by the word, “inwardly” to mean he was not easily expressing his feelings.

He was impulsive and could normally speak before he actually thinks. However, his emotions were too complex, and many times he engaged in violence with Ikemefuna and Enziman. However, at the end of it all, the society betrayed him after he had killed the British messenger by not joining him in the war, an act which made him to commit suicide just like his father, Unoka. It was indeed a shameful and
disgraceful death as per the doctrines of the clans.

6th November 2017

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