Consider the Aristotelian tragedy. It has yet to go the way of Eddie Bauer. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe devised a tragic African hero in Okonkwo, consistent with the classic stipulations of the figure. Thus, the novel--to its greatest practicable extent—inherently existed as a tragedy on all levels to accommodate Okonkwo. To illustrate this, I will dissect and analyze the many factors that make Things Fall Apart an exemplary model of Greek tragedy by Aristotle’s own towering ideals.
First and foremost, the tragic hero must be of noble stature, occupying a high position within the community, innately embodying virtue and majesty. Okonkwo distinguished himself as an exceptional wrestler, defeating
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In fact, the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributes to the hero's lack of perfection noted above. This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually (albeit hesitantly) translated as "tragic flaw". Often the character's hamartia involves hubris. The proud Okonkwo, a prisoner of his own male-centric culture and his disgrace-ridden ancestry, was determined to be the paragon of masculinity, producing his tragic flaw: the fear of being thought “womanly”, or the fear of weakness. His readiness to explode into violence sans provocation demonstrated his need to express anger through brutality and without rationalization; his stubborn and irrational behavior began to divest him negatively from the other villagers. Okonkwo’s feelings differed from his words and actions, evident in the killing of Ikemefuna in the seventh chapter, where the tragic hero disregarded his inner feelings of love and protectiveness, showing that the deep abyss between his divided self accounted for the beginning of his decline.
The hero's misfortune is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime, which is seen at different occasions: banished to the motherland for seven years (chapter fourteen) for an accidental “womanly” crime and his concurrent Euro-induced suicide upon his ill