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Things Fall Apart: Okonkwo the tragic hero

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    Awoken fails to free himself from his major character flaws, which ultimately brings about his tragic demise. Ginkgo’s first prominent flaw is his fear of failure, which is greatly influenced by his father, Knock, a very lazy and carefree man. He had a reputation of being “poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat… He was a loafer” (4). Ashamed of his incapable father, Awoken felt that anything that resembled Quinoa or anything that his father enjoyed was weak and unnecessary. Because of his fear to be seen as weak, Awoken even strikes down a child that calls him father: “…

    Awoken drew his matched and cut [Snakeskin] down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (43). Killing the chi lid demonstrates Ginkgo’s fear of weakness and that to him, reputation is more important than the life of the child. This flaw eventually brings about his downfall at the end when he continues to fight stubbornly against the white Christians since he believes giving up shows weakness. Ginkgo’s uncontrollable anger is another flaw that prevents him from true greatness and ultimately destroys his life. To discipline Annoy, he becomes very rough on his son.

    For example, when Annoy overhears that Snakeskin was to be “taken home the next day, [Annoy] burst into hears, whereupon his father beat him heavily” (40). Ginkgo’s inability to control his infuriation eventually drives his son away to join the “enemies” and even reject his own family. This particular attitude causes much hatred in Awoken towards the missionaries to the point of him murdering one: “Ginkgo’s matched descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body” (144). His abhorrence and rage in this situation led him to his downfall.

    Although his motion can be justified, it is clear that he cannot control his sudden rage and his quick-tempered actions. Ginkgo’s suicide at the end of the novel concludes the life of a tragic hero. His fear of failure and sudden anger lead him to such actions that cannot be ameliorated and reversed. Despite his several honorable characteristics and his high status in the Gobo society, he fails to correct his tragic flaws and eventually suffers a terrible downfall. Bibliography:Achebe, China.

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