Okonkwo Tragic Flaw Essay

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“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 …show more content…
It is easier to see Okonkwo’s tragic flaw when he is compared to other characters in Things Fall Apart. Ikemefuna was a sensitive yet strong and well-rounded boy who served as a role model for Nwoye and Okonkwo’s other children. While Okonkwo was viewed as a leader in the grand scheme of things, he lacked compassion and could not lead by example well. Ezeudu, once the oldest man in the village, was a great warrior in his youth. He was also the one to warn Okonkwo against partaking in Ikemefuna’s sacrifice. Obviously, Okonkwo completely disregards his advice and cannot overcome his own fear of weakness to think rationally. Obierika is Okonkwo’s closest friend; he sells Okonkwo’s yams to provide him with money during his exile and comforts him when he is depressed. Like Nwoye, he questions some of the tribe’s traditional strictures and is open to change in his community if it is for the better. Okonkwo cannot comprehend how to console or care for anyone in need, other than himself. He is also completely closed off to the idea of change in his community. Okonkwo’s inability to adapt, express compassion, and act unrestricted by his fear of failure all compose his fatal flaw, and lead to his demise in a rapidly changing

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