In his case, a tragic hero held the positions of prestige and power.
Click the character infographic to download. Okonkwo is a self-made, well-respected member of the Umuofia clan. Though outwardly stern and powerful, much of his life is dictated by internal fear.
His greatest, overwhelming worry is that he will become like his father — lazy, unable to support his family, and cowardly. This means that Okonkwo attempts to work hard, provide for his family materially, be brave, and be masculine in every possible way.
But he also tends toward emotions that are extreme, and his fear motivates him to take actions which are often unnecessary and ultimately destructive. His fear of being feminine leads him to assist in the murder of Ikemefuna whom he loved, to beat his wives, be emotionally distant from his children, and to disown his oldest son.
His three wives are there to serve him his food and raise his children.
By seeing them as his subjects, Okonkwo can justify his brutal behavior against them. He can beat his wives without guilt. He can threaten Ekwefi with a gun when she talks back. Though he does have qualms about killing Ikemefuna, they are not qualms about whether or not he has the right to do it.
Okonkwo feels complete ownership over his family. There is, however, the problem of love and intimacy. Okonkwo rarely shows these aspects of himself since he considers emotion soft and feminine — but the emotions are there nonetheless.
But, whenever there is a clash between showing true emotion and maintaining the show of his strength, Okonkwo will always go with the latter. Whenever he breaks them — either deliberately through a loss of temper or inadvertently as in shooting the boy — he never questions the punishments brought upon him.
Okonkwo abides by his punishment whether or not he thinks they are fair. This is one way of maintaining his honor and reputation. He reads the laws literally, unlike his father who bent the rules and tried to circumvent certain aspects of the law.
Thus we come to one of the central conflicts in the novel: His final act of suicide is the ultimate demonstration of things falling apart because it is the first and only time that Okonkwo purposefully and calculatedly breaks the clan laws. As a character, Okonkwo remains pretty consistent throughout the book.
Okonkwo, whose sense of pride and dignity continues until the end, chooses to live and die on his own terms rather than submit to the white man. For Okonkwo, giving in would be against so much of what he has stood for — courage, tradition, and manliness.Nwoye - Okonkwo’s oldest son, whom Okonkwo believes is weak and lazy.
Okonkwo continually beats Nwoye, hoping to correct the faults that he perceives in him.
Okonkwo continually beats Nwoye, hoping to correct the faults that he perceives in him. Okonkwo is the protagonist or main character in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Okonkwo's father Unoka was a drunkard who owed money to everyone.
The novel's main character and an influential clan leader, Okonkwo fears becoming an unsuccessful, weak man like his father, Unoka.
As a result, Okonkwo is hardworking and aggressive, traits that bring him fame and wealth at the beginning of the novel. Okonkwo as Tragic Hero in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe Words | 5 Pages One of the most commonly asked questions about the novel Things Fall Apart is: why did Achebe choose a tragic hero, Okonkwo, as the main character in the story.
Character List Okonkwo - An influential clan leader in Umuofia. Since early childhood, Okonkwo’s embarrassment about his lazy, squandering, and effeminate father, Unoka, has driven him to succeed. Although Okonkwo’s family and Okonkwo get most of the attention, other characters in Things Fall Apart play an important role..
Mr. Brown is the first white missionary at Umuofia. He shows respect for the tribe’s beliefs and adopts a policy of tolerance and non-aggression in order to win converts, even becoming friends with clan leaders.