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Okonkwo: The Tragic


Cherie Law, Allison Bitney,
Anthony Warren, & Conall Quinn
Okonkwo: Model Clansmen?
 Okonkwo is a model clansmen from based on his
success. However, he is more alienated from his culture
based on his lack of respect for it.
 Okonkwo beats his wife during the Week of Peace. (Pg.
29- 31).
 Kills a clansman and feel his situation is unfair doubting
his culture. (Pg. 124-125).
 Violence is the answer, whereas peace is the solution for
the tribe. (Pg. 199).
 Okonkwo commits grave sin by committing suicide. (Pg.
 Okonkwo is respected by the tribe because he won
wrestling match against the cat. (Pg. 4).
 He went from failure to success with his yams. (Pg. 24 &
 His chi agreed with him. (Pg. 27).
 Okonkwo and Nwoye have a sour relationship.
 Okonkwo sees Nwoye as weak and lazy, just like his
grandfather. (Pg. 13).
 The relationship deteriorates after Okonkwo kills
Ikemefuna. (Pg. 61).
 Okonkwo disowns him for converting to Christianity. (Pg.
 Other examples: Pg 152.
 Okonkwo and Ikemefuna’s relationship is good.
 Okonkwo loved him like his own son however kills him
out of fear of being weak.
 Examples: Pg. 28
 The relationship between Okonkwo and Unoka is hate.
 Okonkwo hated his father because he was lazy and a
 He hates what his father loves. (Pg. 13).
 Examples: Pg. 4, 5, 13.
 The relationship between Okonkwo and Ezinma is happy
 Okonkwo secretly wishes she was a boy. (Pg. 67).
 She has the work ethic of a boy.
 He shows care for her. (Pg.112 & 172)
 Attitude resembles her father, anger. (Pg. 173).
 Okonkwo’s character teaches us that he shows no signs
of emotions for the ones he loves, but greatly expresses
hatred towards the one he does not like.
Public vs. Private
 Okonkwo has a public and private self.
 Publicly, he wants to be seen as this great clansman who
has the absence of fear.
 Privately, he had emotions deep within him that he did
not want nobody to see, especially himself because to
him he seems weak.
 Example: We can see Okonkwo’s feelings for Ezinma
privately. He secretly wishes she was a boy. Pg. 173 &
Okonkwo and other Literary
Tragic Hero
 Okonkwo  Achilles
 Hubris  Hubris
 Status: Achievement  Tragic Flaw: Ankle
 Tragic Flaw: Fear of  Character: Savage-like
failure  Death: Shot in the ankle
 Character: Savage-like
 Death: Suicide
Characteristics of a Tragic
 High Status
 Tragic Flaw
 Death or Destruction
 Okonkwo is a tragic hero because he is of high status. He
earned it through achievement by the success of his
 Okonkwo has a tragic flaw which is fear of failure.
 Okonkwo’s death is by his own hands.
 Okonkwo’s tragic flaw leads to his death because he
fears failure.
 He sees a sign of weakness as a downfall which the idea
comes from his father.
 Example: “Whenever the thought of his father’s
weakness and failure troubled him he expelled it by
thinking about his own strength and success.” Pg. 66.
 He is so afraid of failure that he brings his own death
upon himself.
 Okonkwo is a tragic hero through the eyes of the
 However, the District Commissioner and other colonists
see him as a person with no status.
The End