Things Fall Apart by: Chinua Achebe

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“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is a clear depiction of a tragedy and can be compared to several works, particularly works from antiquity such as The Odyssey and many more stories from Shakespeare. One of the reasons why this is a tragedy is because the main character, Okonkwo, fits the classic example of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is, by short definition, someone who falls because of a tragic flaw and not necessarily because he is a “bad” or evil person. Okonkwo has good intentions but because of his flaws (pride, anger, etc) cannot see a positive resolution to his troubles. Okonkwo possess tragic flaw, which leads to his downfall, thus making “Things Fall Apart under the category of tragedy. Okonkwo rules with am “iron fist” and thinks that the only way a man shows strength is by being physically violent which surely does not help him with his clan. He was very irrational. During the week of peace, he was extremely angry with Ojiugo (his youngest wife) for not preparing his dinner before she left to plait her hair without telling him. He waited for her to return and when she did he beat her badly. In his anger he actually forgot it was the week of peace. (p. 2707) Due to his rash behavior against his wife he needed to prepare an offering to the “earth goddess” in quest for forgiveness. Okonkwo was referred to as a “bird nza” in other words now that he is wealthy he thinks he no longer has to show respect to the “gods”. (p. 2708) Okonkwo not fully understanding his fault was angry that he needed to offer sacrifice to the earth. He loses respect for the clan because in his eyes his act of beating his wife was justified. He is partially to be blame for his demise; however, his character possesses traits that seemingly invite tragedy. Okonkwo bears much responsibility for it’s over all downfalls because he had countless opportunities to change the course

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