Things fall Apart and Okonkwo; A Traditional Greek Catastrophe and Awful Hero
Things Fall Apart and Okonkwo; A Traditional Greek catastrophe and Awful Hero Both the unique Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and its main character Okonkwo closely abide by the meanings of a traditional Greek tragedy and a common tragic hero. To start with, Okonkwo is an awful hero by the Greek definition. While Okonkwo wasn’t born to a nobleman or king (as the definition of a terrible hero states), he was a guy of high status and respect in his neighborhood, as Obierika specified near the end of the book. That man was among the best men in Umuofia.” (Achebe 208). Second, the unique follows the format of a Greek catastrophe by providing Okonkwo as a blended character. He was a mixed character in that he was neither thoroughly good nor completely bad. His silver lining was shown in the novel sometimes, like when it was shown that he desired Nwoye to be manly just since “He desired him to be a prosperous man.” (53 ). However, at other times, he was really misguided and wrong, which led him to make large mistakes with very unfavorable consequences.
One example would be when Okonkwo’s youngest other half, Ojiugo had actually forgotten to make his lunch. “And when she returned he beat her really greatly. In his anger he had forgotten that it was the week of peace.” (29 ). This violent and misguided mistake reveals the side of Okonkwo that we may not believe of as the perfect hero, however this violent and angry side of him balances with the side that wishes to see Nwoye succeed, that makes him a blended character. The next element of both an awful hero and the awful hero’s story that Things Break down abides by is the awful fall.
Okonkwo’s terrible fall was eliminating Ikemefuna, his adopted son. This occasion was his tragic fall due to the fact that it resulted in other events in his life such as killing the boy of Ogbuefi Ezeudu (the turnaround), and his eventual exile. Okonkwo’s friend Obierika even foreshadowed the significance and imminent downfall that would come of his killing of Ikemefuna when he told him that “What you have actually done will not please the earth. It is the sort of action for which the goddess eliminates entire families.” (67 ).
So, since he eliminated his own adopted child, it was just fitting that the turnaround of both Okonkwo and the story that follows him would be the fallout from mistakenly eliminating another male’s son. This directly resulted in his seven-year exile from Umuofia. This could really easily be translated as the earth goddess’s punishment that Obierika mentioned. Okonkwo’s unexpected killing of Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s child was the turnaround of this story since as the meaning of a reversal states, it did “catapult him from the heights of joy to the depths of suffering. As specified by Achebe when Okonkwo showed up in Mbanta, “His life had actually been ruled by a great passion– to become one of the lords of the clan. That had been his life-spring. And he had all but achieved it. Then whatever had been broken. He had actually been erupted of his clan like a fish onto a dry, sandy beach, panting.” (131 ). A traditional Greek tragedy usually has a main character with an awful defect. Things Break down follows this traditional formula because Okonkwo’s awful defect was his consistent and long-lasting worry of being thought about a failure like his daddy. But his whole life was controlled by worry, the worry of failure and of weak point … It was not external however lay deep within himself, lest he needs to be found to resemble his father.” (13 ). His flaw resided on throughout his entire life and the anger and worry of resembling his daddy ultimately resulted in his own death. The next part of this story that makes Okonkwo an awful hero is his hubris. Okonkwo’s hubris is that he believes that everything he does is right, and if someone does something he would not, it is thought about incorrect and weak.
He is likewise arrogant and dismissive of others, particularly those who oppose him. For example, “a guy had contradicted him at a kindred meeting which they held to talk about the ancestral banquet. Without taking a look at the male Okonkwo had stated: ‘This conference is for men.’ The guy who had opposed him had no titles. That was why he had called him a female. Okonkwo understood how to eliminate a man’s spirit.” (26 ). His dismissiveness towards this guy is simply one example of his hubris. The next part of a Greek catastrophe, is the terrible hero’s minute of acknowledgment of “the truth of his scenario and/or of his identity. Okonkwo’s moment of acknowledgment came when he recognized that his individuals weren’t going to resist against the white men and their religious beliefs. The arrival of these foreigners and their odd religion had brought the death of his clan and way of life with them. “Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not simply a personal sorrow. He grieved for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he grieved for the military males of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably end up being soft like females.” (183 ). At this point in the story of Okonkwo, he realizes the grim truth about the fate of his culture and people.
Lastly, Things Break Down, the story of Okonkwo, complies with the design of a traditional Greek catastrophe because it has a final katharsis, or “tragic representation of suffering and defeat that leaves an audience feeling, not depressed, however relieved and even raised,” (Greek tragedy and awful hero explanation sheet). Things Fall Apart’s katharsis, or psychological relief came when Okonkwo eliminated himself. Although such an event might look like something that would make the reader feel beat and depressed, it was through his suicide that Okonkwo made one last demonstration or stand against the white male.
His suicide also enabled him to escape his fate of being eliminated by the British, which shows us that although the damage of the Ibo culture and lifestyle was imminent, there was still some spirit, some fight to retain their methods left among the defeated Ibo people. Things Break Down and it’s main character Okonkwo follow the meaning of a Greek disaster and terrible hero because Okonkwo is a combined character with a tragic flaw and hubris who experiences a tragic fall and reversal in his life, that results in a moment of recognition and eventually, katharsis.