Okonkwo Tragic Flaw Analysis

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Chinua Achebe's “Things Fall Apart” is a historical fiction novel that is set in the early 1900’s. This novel is about the tragic downfall of the main character Okonkwo, a well respected leader within his clan in Umuofia, who is also a tragic hero because of several flaws. Okonkwo’s most noticeable flaw is that he fears weakness and failure. Okonkwo’s fatal flaw is his fear of weakness and failure. This fear was the result of the weakness and failure of his father, Unoka. He saw how nobody respected him and the way he died, so in a way that marked him and didn’t want to become like him, but on the contrary, he hated everything his father loved, and tried to be everything his father was not: “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a …show more content…
Okonkwo's way to solve any of his problems is always by using his physical strength and violence, and it is this behavior that leads him to several conflicts within his family, his failings, and his downfall. One day, during the Week of Peace, Okonkwo’s youngest wife, Ojiugo, decides to plait her hair at her friend’s house instead of cooking dinner. When Okonkwo finds out, he waits for her at her obi and when she returns he beats her. By doing this, Okonkwo violated the clan rules, since he was supposed to observe the Week of Peace with not violent behavior. As a result of this, the priest demands Okonkwo to pay a fine for breaking the peace during this sacred time. On another occasion, during the New Yam Festival, Okonkwo gets very angry after he finds out that his second wife, Ekwefi, had killed a banana tree, and so he gave her a sound beating. After Okonkwo had satisfied his anger, he decides to go out hunting, but Ekwefi murmured something about guns that never shot. For her misfortune, Okonkwo heard what she said and ran madly to his room for the loaded gun then he aimed it at her, shoot it, and almost killed …show more content…
Perhaps there’s not better example of this in the novel than when he kills Ikemefuna, his adopted son, whom he loved and felt very proud of. “As the man who had cleared his throat drew up and raised his machete, Okonkwo looked away. He heard the blow. The pot fell and broke in the sand. He heard Ikemefuna cry, “My father, they have killed me!” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe, 61) . Ikemefuna had become like a son to Okonkwo, and before they had set off to kill him, Ogbuefi Ezeudu told Okonkwo not to take part in his murder. But Okonkwo killed the boy that called him father anyway, just because he was afraid of people thinking he was

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