Makayla Harvey Mayurika Chakravorty ENGL 1009 A Tuesday, January 30th/2018 “Things Fall Apart”: Okonkwo’s Tragic Downfall A tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle is a character who is noble in nature, has a tragic flaw and discovers his own fate by his own actions. In “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo is a tragic hero because he meets Aristotle’s tragic hero principles, being a successful and well respected male leader in the Igbo community but suffers from an inner flaw. In the Igbo community, Okonkwo unlike his father is known as a wealthy man who holds two titles of honor to his own name at a young age. “His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the cat.” (Achebe 3). Okonkwo had it all, and he earned it. Despite all of his achievements he also obtained an inner inability to control his fear of appearing weak and unable to provide like his father Unoka. His father’s past represented opposite traits of masculinity, as a result Okonkwo makes decisions throughout the novel that go against community traditions which leads to his downfall. His desperation to escape the shame of his father overtakes his actions towards others. “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness” (Achebe 13). Like a true tragic hero his masculinity power becomes one of his many weaknesses leading to his own fatal destruction. Okonkwo’s destiny not to become like his father reflects on his relationship with his own family. When others implied he was showing signs of femininity, negative acts were performed towards others demonstrating his high ideals of masculinity. “The wife who had just been beaten, murmured something about guns that never shot, unfortunately for her, Okonkwo heard it and ran madly into his room for the loaded gun, ran out and aimed at her as she clammed over the dwarf wall of the barn.” (Achebe 25). By having his obsessive fear associated with appearing weak and lazy, Okonkwo wanted to take part in the killing of the boy he considered his son. Appearing strong and masculine, deciding to kill Ikemefuna, weakens his relationship with his family but also hurts himself mentally. After his seven years of banishment due to his actions, Okonkwo hoped for a new beginning returning to the community to become a “real man”. But due to his son’s betrayal, joining the Christians, he realized returning to Umuofia was a nightmare come true. Okonkwo’s violent impulses lead him to kill a court messenger from the British. Soon after the murder he leads himself to the discovery of his own tragic fate. Okonkwo’s ultimate downfall was brought on by the acceptance of what his community and the atmosphere around him had become, leaving him defenseless against the Christians. Okonkwo experienced suffering and consequences due to his actions to never appear weak “like a woman”. Hanging himself in a tree, Okonkwo ends his conflict once and for all. “Then they came to a tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead” (Achebe 207). Okonkwo worked hard and achieved many titles and honors in order to be buried with dignity. Committing suicide, he dies in disgrace similarly to his father.