Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

1408 Words Nov 9th, 2014 6 Pages
“In ancient Chinese art, the great painters always included a deliberate flaw in their work: human creation is never perfect” (L’engle). While everyone would like to believe that they are perfect, no one is born without a flaw. Some people have desirable qualities and admirable virtues that may seem like perfection, but underneath they have more serious flaws in their character. In Chinua Achebe’s literary work Things Fall Apart, the main character Okonkwo struggles with his hamartia, or fatal flaw. Born to a lazy, effeminate father, Okonkwo lives in constant fear of failing the same way his father, Unoka, did. In order to overcome the poverty incurred by his of his father’s choices, Okonkwo blocks off his heart and mind to a point where he loses all compassion and rational thinking outside of traditional guidelines. Okonkwo achieves the stature of a tragic hero, evokes both pity and fear, and suffers a downfall because of his fear of failure, his inflexibility in living traditional Igbo life, and his inability to adapt to new ideas. Okonkwo’s difficult beginnings, strong work ethic, and achievements give him a heroic stature. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond” (Achebe 3). As a young man, he threw Amalinze the Cat, a famed wrestler who was previously unbeaten, and quickly gained status as a fierce warrior by killing numerous men in Umuofia’s wars. After establishing himself as a warrior, Okonkwo begins a prosperous yam farm with the…

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