Aristotle once wrote that “a man cannot become a hero before he can see what is behind his downfall.” Okonkwo’s portrayal of Achebe as a tragic, hero is illustrated in Things Fall Apart. A tragic hero, according to Aristotle is a character whose judgment error leads to one’s own downfall. Okonkwo depicts Okonkwo’s suicide at the end. Okonkwo could have been simply a victim, while others say Okonkwo caused his downfall. Okonkwo may be called a tragedy hero. This is because he matches Aristotle’s definition of a tragic theo. Aristotle’s definition of a tragic heroine requires that the person be both virtuous as well as flawed, have a reverse of fortune and be of high standing. Achebe describes Okonkwo as “well-known” in this regard. His fame was due to his personal achievements. Okonkwo, who had no father, started as a worker in the sharecropper sector. Okonkwo was a hard worker who rose to be a highly respected Umuofia businessman. Okonkwo soon had three children by his hard work. Okonkwo, with all his achievements, is highly respected both within and outside his clan. His tasks amazed villagers. He was just 18 years old when he presented Umuofia with the Amalinze the Cat. This cat is a professional wrestler who has been undefeated for seven consecutive years. Okonkwo is one of nine Eqwugwu. He is a respected Judge in the community, and is considered to be an ancestral spirit. The villagers have also selected Okonkwo to represent them in their discussion with the Mbaino village regarding the murder of Umuofia girls at the Mbaino marketplace. Okonkwo, a nobleman and leader of Umuofia, is also a hero. His hard work and drive for excellence earned him fame. As with other tragic heroes Okonkwo suffers from a tragic flaw. This is his fear and vulnerability. Okonkwo’s fear and vulnerability can drive him to fame and success, but it also causes him many problems in life. Okonkwo is known for his violent, impulsive and harsh behavior towards his family members, friends, and relatives a lot. He acts violently and hides his feminine side to protect his family from being seen as weak. Okonkwo was taught that violence and strength were the only solutions to his problems. His masculine mentality leads to conflict between Okonkwo’s family and causes him to fall. Okonkwo breaks the clan’s rule by beating his youngest wife during week of peace. He also almost shot his second wife for commenting on her gun skills. Okonkwo takes pride in his masculinity and could even be shot if someone asks. Okonkwo shot Nwoye’s friend Ikemefuna. Okonkwo didn’t want to be seen weak or failing. Okonkwo cut Okonkwo down with a machete. He was afraid he would be considered weak.
Okonkwos’ actions can not only cause harm to his marriage and Nwoye his son, but also himself. One of his most striking traits is Okonkwo’s violent tendencies, impulsive personality and willingness to kill during a clan gathering. Okonkwo is soon led to his tragic end by this incident.
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