Thursday, September 19, 2019

Comparing the Tragic Hero in Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness Es

The Tragic Hero in Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness A tragic hero could be considered a "noble person with a fatal flaw" or "an opponent of society who is willing to take action that 'sensible people' might applaud but never perform themselves". In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Joseph Conrads's Heart of Darkness, two characters, Okonkwo and Kurtz, have some qualities which could categorize them as tragic heroes. However, only the reader's interpretation of the characters' actions will determine if they are tragic heroes or not. In his Ibo society, Okonkwo would certainly be considered a "noble person". Not only has he worked his way up from poverty to become one of the leading men of Umuofia, but he has also been deemed one of the greatest warriors and wrestlers in the land. "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements", (Achebe 3). Due to the exemplary actions, Okonkwo has gained respect from his fellow tribesmen. Okonkwo has also taken two titles in his clan and he is a member of the egwugwu, which demonstrates his leadership capabilities and the power and "nobility" he holds in Umuofia. Despite his skills in those areas, Okonkwo does have a "fatal flaw". "His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness", (Achebe 13). Unoka, Okonkwo's father, was considered an "agbala", or a woman, because he was soft and not masculine enough. Okonkwo had also hated his father because he was em- barrassed by him, so his life's passion is to be the polar opposite of him. Due to this fear, Okonkwo held in his emotions and acted hard, which ultimately made him weak, because a s... ...o appears to have more qualities of a tragic hero than Kurtz. Achebe had created Okonkwo with some nobility, and he definitely had a fatal flaw; his fear of weakness ultimately culminated into his death. Also, Okonkwo had opposed the white society and some of his fellow tribesmen. However, his clan did not approve of his final action: suicide. Due to this fact, Okonkwo can never be a true tragic he- ro. Now, Kurtz never was considered to be a noble man by society's standards and he didn't really have a flaw; instead, he had the ability to persuade and manipulate people to his advantage, which would not be a flaw for his sake. Kurtz was a mixed man of society; he opposed some parts while accepting others. Despite this, both characters have exhibited some characteristics of a tragic hero and only the reader's response can determine their roles. Â  

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