Character of Okonkwo In Regard To Western Tragedy
A dramatic narrative which the actor is serious and portrays important actions with the aim of presenting some characters of a protagonist or someone who is hero is known as a tragedy. In the novel Things Fall Apart, the author portrays Okonkwo as a tragic hero which if compared with the western tragedy it brings out a clear meaning. So as to understand the true character of Okonkwo, the paper reviews his past life and then compares what he are conventions of western tragedy and the tragic hero.
Okonkwo was the son of Unoka who was believed to be a failure in the society. He was lazy and could not provide for his family because he was a serious drinker and his work was just to flute "A proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and bitterer when a man fails alone." (- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ch. 3). Like father like son did not apply in this context because being the man in the family, Okonkwo took care of the family. The play describes Okonkwo as being hardworking, warrior and to some point he was arrogant. Unlike Unoka, his son tried as much not to follow his footsteps but rather he tried to be great citizen by supporting the family which is believed to be the duty of any family man. The set goals of Okonkwo were the one which directed him to his downfall. According to the play, Okonkwo was able to meet his dreams following the fact that he used not to do anything which his father loved. The conventions of Okonkwo are the play is portrayed as being a western tragic hero in the characters in the main play.
According to the western culture a male child is supposed to take responsibility of the situation and not to follow what bad things which he might or surrounds the environment of his surroundings. The tragic hero’s story of the play is shown where he is showing the responsibility which the father is not able to provide to the family. In this context the moral health is clearly portrayed in where the ruler is shown to be a hero in the play in regard to the western tragedy. It is with no doubt that Okonkwo is a mixed hero who has both negative and positive side in the society. Such characters are very good people in the society because they are able to adjust themselves incase of any circumstance which can arise on their way. The author brings out clearly the character of Okonkwo which shows that he is ready to deal with any upraising feature which might come along his way. His harsh features show his strengths of commanding any person who might come across his life of becoming a warrior or a leader.
Although he is believed to be a leader, is shown to be a person who gets angry quickly mostly to those who are lazy. According to the author Okonkwo is somehow violent when it comes to actions and can demolish anything which he feels is destructing his way. One circumstance is when we see him beating her wife because she does not turn to cook for him on time. On another circumstance he kills an office messenger which clearly shows that Okonkwo was a sinner in his entire life. "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man." (- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ch. 7).The life of Okonkwo becoming a great tragedy hero is solely driven by the fact that he does not want to be like his father. He greatly engages himself in productive activities where he would not like to see his family suffering. With the help of that fear we can see that he becomes a great warrior, farmer and ever a leader who was feared in the society. Although Okonkwo is seeing as an evil person, he is somehow greater and worth in the society much than some of us because we can see he becomes a hero simply because he could not want to be like his father.
In the play we can see how tragedy portrays it clearly when the hero falls from a might life into a state of misery and confusion. We can see how Okonkwo becomes a victim of the circumstance similarly like his father. Although he had tried not to live in a life which is not worth, we can see what happens which made him fall from happiness to a state where he never thought. One of the mistakes which he made was that he had some power which he used to succeed not to become lazy but on the other hand he was not able to socialize with the society. Although we can see that he was strong enough to deal with any thing, his stubbornness cost him to be come a loser at the end. His downfall comes as a result of being stubborn to his environment. We can see that his strength brought him a tragedy because he was not provided with support by the so called clansmen due to his harsh ways of performing things and not recognizing that other people are suffering, “Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: 'Why did he do it?'" (- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ch. 24).
We can say that the tragic hero was not in a positing of recognizing what was surrounding him and that is what simply made him to commit suicide which was a shameful thing for a hero. In this case we can see him being a sinner where by he failed to become a man of own principle. According to these actions we are able to see that he was unable to maintain his relationship with the clansmen and being a leader of the society he overcomes himself and becomes a victim of a tragic hero by killing himself. The tragic hero moves us in a state where we do feel pity and it is with no doubt that Okonkwo was not that evil to find him in a state of committing suicide. “But he was not the man to go about telling his neighbors that he was in error. “And so people said he had no respect for the gods of the clan. His enemies said that his good fortune had gone to his head." (- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ch. 4). In our poet by Aristotle it is evidently that we do get similar feeling which are shown in Okonkwo character. We get fear of the two scenarios because we are living in a world where there are such characters and anything of such issue can arise.
We are left in a state where we are not depressed as a result of the characters behavior but we elevated on the circumstance under what happened. Although Okonkwo can be regarded as a tragic hero, it is evidently that he knows that the clan or the society which he is living does not appreciate his behaviors. Many may say that he was driven by urge of being a warrior but my opinion is that all was out of fear not wanting to behave life his father.