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Things Fall Apart is regarded as a tragic novel and Ukonkwo as the protagonist of the novel. It we consider the Aristotelian conception of a tragic hero, who is a man of extraordinary stature, noble and magnificent, far above the ordinary, but who has a flaw in his character which leads to his downfall, Okonkwo does not seem to belong to that category of a protagonist. Though he has some remarkable physical qualities, his moral sides contain a good number of faults, including his impetuosity and error in . Judgment which ultimately brings about his defeat and death. Achebe does not make Ononkwo all good and all noble without any flaws, but he takes care that he becomes fully rounded and believable. He is a real human being with doubts and fears and questionings along with the simpler and more Straight forward virtues. 

The author first gives a vivid description’ of Okonkwo’s physical qualities. “He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look. He breathed heavily and it was said that when he slept, his wives and children in their outhouses could hear him breathe. When he walked, his heels hardly touched the ground, and he seemed to walk on springs as if he was going to pounce on somebody. And he did pounce upon people quite often. He had a slight stammer, and whenever he was angry he could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists.” 

Because of his extraordinary bodily strength, Okonkwo was well-known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen, he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amaliwze the cat in wrestling. His wrestling with Amalinze was one of the fiercest fights since the foundation of their town. , 

Okonkwo was a hardworking man. He started his life from a zero, but within a short time, he became a wealthy farmer. He had two barns full of yams, and married his third wife. To crown it all he had taken two titles and shown incredible prowess in two inter-tribal wars. Though he was still young he was already one of the greatest men of his time. Okonkwo’s palm

kernels had not been cracked for him, as people said, by a benevolent spirit, but he had cracked them himself. Anybody who knew his grim struggle against poverty and misfortune could not say be had been lucky. It ever a man deserved his success, that man was Okonkwo. The Ibo people had a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very strongly, so his chi agreed. And not only his chi but his clan too because it judged a man by the work of his hands. 

On the side of moral and mental qualities, Okonkwo is seen to possess some qualities ad weaknesses. His motivation or driving force was his fear—fear of being regarded as a weak man and failure in society as his father Unoka was. Okonkwo was ruled by one passion to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentles, and another was idleness. 

But he had some gentler side of his mind also. He was fully capable of human emotions and affections. He became fond of Ikemefuna, and so he was very much distressed and upset for several days after his murder. He loved his daughter Ezinma as a very affectionate father should. He loved Ekwefi, his second wife also, more than his other wives. 

Okonkwo had some glaring faults in his character, as well. He was impulsive. He acted before he thought. He offended the Igbo people and their traditions as well as the gods of his clan. He was advised not to Participate in the murder of Ikemefuna, but he did not follow the advice; he killed Ikemefuna because he was afraid of being thought weak. When the white man brought Christianity to Umuofia, he was opposed to the new ways. He felt that the changes were destroying the Igbo culture, and he stood firmly against the changes. But he was not tactful enough to fight against the encroaching powers of the Christians. Of his rash judgment and impetuous nature, he was detached from other members of his clan. In his struggle against the new forces, he found himself alone. He saw things fall apart. He acted desperately and killed a messenger of the white people. He committed suicide t to avoid being humiliated at the hands of his enemies, Thus Okonkwo's life came to an end. All factors of his character led to his tragic end.


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