Example research essay topic: Character Analysis Of Okonkwo In “things Fall Apart” – 966 words

Okonkwo is portrayed as a tragic hero, in the
novel Things Fall Apart. To uncover the source of
Okonkwos tragic flaw, a glimpse into his past is
essential. At first, we see Okonkwo as an
arrogant, hardworking, warrior. This is his
cultures vision of a great citizen. His father,
Unoka was thought of as a failure. He is lazy and
does not provide for his family.

His culture views
him as an unacceptable and an unsuccessful
citizen, and Unoka was looked down upon. Okonkwo
set a goal to be everything his father wasnt.
Although this could be a good been a good goal, it
is the one which Okonkwos tragic flaw arises from.
Every person has his faults but with Okonkwo, they
ultimately lead to his downfall. His tragic flaw
comes in two parts. The first of which is his
obsession with war, fighting, and power. Okonkwo
always needed be involved in an activity, he never
wanted to look lazy. He possessed a one-track mind
that was focused on nothing but being the best.
Another flaw that Okonkwo shows is his pride in
his masculinity.

This forces him to show no other
emotion, except anger and fear of looking weak.
This flaw caused Okonkwo to have problems with his
family and tribe. This including his violence
towards his family, killing Ikemefuna, his seven
year banishment, and decapitating the District
Commissioner, with leads to his death. To begin
with, Okonkwo is hard and stern with his family,
mostly his son, Nwoye, who does not take after
him. It is Okonkwo’s inner fear that Nwoye too
would be a failure like his Unoka. He is strict
with his wives and never shows his inner emotions.
As a man that has provided everything for himself,
he is impatient with others who are unsuccessful.
During a meeting of the tribe’s elders, he calls
another man a woman and says, “This meeting is for
men.” This man who he called a women had no
titles, and so Okonkwo felt that he was not worthy
enough. However, Okonkwo was forced to apologize
to him.

Okonkwo beats his wife during the Week of
Peace when she does not send him his food as
required. Breaking the rules of the Week of Peace
is considered a sin. We live in peace with our
fellows to honor our great goddess earth…the
evil you have committed can ruin the whole
clan…and we shall all perish(pg 30). At the New
Yam Festival he shoots at his second wife, Ekwefi,
but misses. He thought that she had cut down his
banana tree, but in reality she had only cut a few
leaves. Again this shows his impulsive nature and
violent temper.

In addition, Ikemefuna, the boy
that was adopted into Okonkwos family, eventually
gains Okonkwos love. Although Okonkwo never shows
his love for Ikemefuna, in time he calls Okonkwo
his father. Inside, Okonkwo wishes that Ikemefuna
was his natural son instead of Nwoye. Ikemefuna
shows the traits of a great warrior which Okonkwo
wants Nwoye to have. When the Oracle of the Hills
and Caves orders the death of Ikemefuna, Okonkwo,
in order to show his fearlessness, strikes the
final blow with his machete, even as the boy is
calling to him “My father, they have killed
me!”(pg 61). Ogbuefi, the oldest man in the
village had asked Okonkwo not to join in the
killing of the boy as he called him his father.

Okonkwo killing the boy he has made his second
offense against the tribal laws. Okonkwos friend,
Obrierka, tells him, If I were you I would have
stayed at home. What you have done will not please
the Earth. It is the kind of action for which the
goddess wipes out whole families.(pg 67). His
actions created a frusteration in the clan.
Although Okonkwo didnt want to participate all he
thought about was not to be seen by the other
villagers as weak. Unfortunately for Okonkwo, he
is making things worse off for himself and the end
is soon coming.

Furthermore, at a funeral ceremony
for Ezeudu, Okonkwo’s gun explodes. A piece of the
metal hits the Ezeudus sixteen-year-old son,
killing him. The tribe considers it an accident or
a womans crime, but as a consequence. Okonkwo is
dismissed from the clan for seven years. This
random accident may be the result of fate or
punishment for his sins. During Okonkwos sentence,
the English missionaries have established
themselves in the tribe.

Upon returning to his
village, Okonkwo is unhappy by the changes brought
about by the English, both religious and social.
His chances of reclaiming his former glory are
dashed. Even his son converts to Christianity.
Again we see Okonkwos actions coming back to haunt
him. Moreover, as tension builds, and Umuofia’s
culture and spirituality continues to be
assaulted, Okonkwo encourages violence as a
solution. Once again, Okonkwo commits a tribal
sin. When Okonkwo cannot take any more of the
District Commissioner, he beheads one of his
messengers. Killing one of the District
Commissioner’s messengers threatens the entire

As a result of the act, Okonkwo commits
suicide. When the authorities come to arrest
Okonkwo, Obierika shows his emotions saying, “That
man was one of the greatest men of Umuofia. You
drove him to kill himself; and now he will be
buried like a dog” (208). This suggests that
Okonkwo’s end was the result of destiny. Though
Okonkwo is seen as a martyr, he commits suicide
realizing that his tribe is no longer with him. On
the surface it would seem that Okonkwo was driven
by success, however, it is my opinion that Okonkwo
was driven by fear, fear of becoming like his
father, and in that absolute fear he created his
own destiny.

In the end Okonkwos own actions lead
to death..

Research essay sample on Character Analysis Of Okonkwo In things Fall Apart