Is Okokwo a tragic hero?
The answer depends on how you view tragedy. “Things Fall Apart” is a tragedy, and Okonkwo is the chief protagonist. But what kind of tragedy is the book?
There are two generic types of tragic hero according to Classical and Modern conceptions of the tragic.
According to Aristotle, the classic tragic hero is “someone who is highly renowned and prosperous” usually of noble birth, and there is a “natural right ordering and proportion of traits within the human being that if violated, produces calamity”.
Classical tragedy can be defined as one that “involves the inevitable destruction of a noble person by means of character flaw, usually a disproportionate measure of a specific human attribute such as pride, jealousy or indecision” .
The modern tragic hero, on the other hand, is a product of a clash between the individual and the social environment. Arthur Miller, the famous playwright said, “each person has a chosen image of self and position, tragedy results when the characters environment denies the fulfillment of this self concept.”
This is a contrast from Aristotle’s classic tragic hero because the hero is no longer of noble birth but gains stature in the action of pitting him/herself against the cosmos, and the tragedy becomes, “the disaster inherent in being torn away from our chosen image of what and who we are in this world.”
Your thoughts on Okonkwo?