Character Sketch of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart

An influential, proud, ambitious and ill-tempered clan leader in Umuofia is the tragic hero of Things Fall Apart. An ambitious man who has risen from nothing to man of importance in his tribe. Since childhood Okonkwo’s embarrassment about his lazy, squandering and effeminate father, Unoka has driven him to succeed. Okonkwo’s hard work and prowess in war with Amalinze the cat in wrestling have earned him a position of high status in his clan, and he attains wealth sufficient to support his three wives and their children. Okonkwo rules his family with an iron fist. He is deeply dedicated to the traditions and social hierarchies of his people, and he is determined that his sons and daughters follow his demanding example. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw is that he is terrified of looking weak like his father. As a result, he behaves rashly, bringing a great deal of trouble and sorrow upon himself and his family. The indignities forced on him and his people by the British eventually prove to be too much for him. After an act of defiance which goes unsupported by his people, Okonkwo gives in to despair. He kills himself, partly so that he will not be executed under the white men’s laws and partly because he is grieving for the death of his people. Unoka: Okonkwo’s father, of whom Okonkwo

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