Analysis of Okonkwo as a Tragic Hero

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About this sample


Words: 696 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 696|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Introduction: “A man doesn't become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall” as Aristotle once said. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo is used to portray Achebe’s own characterization of a tragic hero. Background: A tragic hero as defined by Aristotle, is a character who makes a judgement error that inevitably leads to his or her own downfall which is portrayed by Okonkwo towards the end of the novel when he takes his own life. It could be argued that Okonkwo was solely a victim of fate while on the other hand, people say Okonkwo’s actions are what led to his downfall. Thesis statement: Okonkwo can be deemed a tragic hero because he fits Aristotle’s criteria of a tragic hero by being a respected and successful leader in Umuofia, he has a tragic flaw, and he discovers his fate soon after his actions.

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Aristotle's criteria of a tragic hero require the person to be virtuous and flawed, suffer a reversal of fortune, and to be a nobleman of high status. Evidence & citing: In this regard, as described by Achebe, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements.” Commentary: With no inheritance from his father, Okonkwo started off as a sharecropper. With immense hard work, Okonkwo made his way up to wealthy and greatly respected man in Umuofia. From all of Okonkwo’s hard work, he soon had three wives, many children, and a large stock of yams. With all of his achievements, Okonkwo earns respect from people outside and inside of his clan which made him even more popular. He amazed the people in the villages with the tasks he did. When he was only 18 years of age, he brought honor to Umuofia by throwing the Amalinze the Cat, a wrestler who has gone undefeated for seven years. Evidence & citing: In addition, Okonkwo is also one of the nine Eqwugwu which is a respected judge in the community who is thought to be a spirit of an ancestor. Okonkwo is also chosen by the villagers to be their representative to talk about with the Mbaino village about the killer of an Umuofia girl in the Mbaino market. Okonkwo is a nobleman, a leader of Umuofia. His fame came purely from his hard work and drive to be a better person than his father was.

Topic sentence: Alike other tragic heroes, Okonkwo has a tragic flaw, which is his fear of failure and weakness. While the fear of weakness and failure drives Okonkwo to earn his achievement and fame, on the other hand, it causes him numerous problems in his life. A substantial amount of times during Okonkwo’s life, his fears lead him to act violently, impulsively, and harshly toward other people which also include his own family. He hides his feminine side and acts violently towards his family because he does not want anyone to see him as weak, not even his own family. The only way Okonkwo leaned how to solve his problems was through strength and violence. Commentary: It is his masculine attitude that creates multiple conflicts between him and his family which ultimately lead to his downfall. Evidence & citing: For example, Okonkwo violates the clan’s rule when he beats up his youngest wife during the week of peace and when he almost shoots his second wife when she commented on is gun skill. He takes extreme pride in his masculinity to the point where if anyone questions it, even his family, it could result to death. Moreover, Okonkwo shoots Ikemefuna, Nwoye’s close friend whom he considers a “brother.” Commentary: Okonkwo did not want to be seen as a failure or as weak. In that sense, “Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.”

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Conclusion paragraph: The actions that Okonkwos goes through not only weakens his relationship with his wives and son, Nwoye, but as well as himself who he hurts not physically, yet mentally. Most importantly, Okonkwo’s violent tendencies and impulsive characteristics lead him to kill a court messenger from the British during a clan meeting. This soon leads Okonkwo to the discovery to the discovery of his own tragic fate.


  1. Jeyifo, B. (1993). Okonkwo and his mother: Things Fall Apart and issues of gender in the constitution of African postcolonial discourse. Callaloo, 16(4), 847-858. (
  2. Adade-Yeboah, A. (2016). The tragic hero of the modern period–The African concept. (
  3. Iyasere, S. O. (1990). Okonkwo and the Execution of Ikemefuna in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: A Study of Ignoble Decisiveness. English Studies in Africa, 33(2), 131-142. (
  4. Okolie, M. J., & Uzoma, G. C. (2019). Okonkwo’s reincarnation: a comparison of Achebe’s Things fall apart and No longer at ease. (
  5. Dannenberg, H. (2009). The many voices of Things fall apart. Interventions, 11(2), 176-179. (

Introduction close-button

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Background close-button

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

Thesis statement close-button

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

Topic sentence close-button

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

Evidence & citing close-button

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.


After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Conclusion paragraph close-button

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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Analysis Of Okonkwo As A Tragic Hero. (2023, March 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Analysis Of Okonkwo As A Tragic Hero.” GradesFixer, 01 Mar. 2023,
Analysis Of Okonkwo As A Tragic Hero. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
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