In Things Fall Apart, what is Okonkwo's tragic flaw?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo has a tragic flaw. His tragic flaw is his fear of becoming like his father. Unoka, Oknokwo's father, is lazy and loves a life of leisure. Okonkwo deals with his fear on a daily basis. He becomes obsessed with hard work in his determination to never be called weak or woman, as did the children call Okonkow's father.

Okonkwo is driven by his passion to excel and become a leader in the community. He allows his masculine desires to overtake him. He becomes abusive to his family, insisting they work as hard as he does.

Ultimately, Okonkwo allows his fear to totally consume him. He is so afraid that he will lose his title until he takes his own life. In the end, he dies without a proper burial, just as his father died without a proper burial. Okonkwo allowed his fear to take contol of him. His life ends in tragey.

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jamphilips | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Okonkwo's Tragic Flaw is that he fears being weak. This fear may stem from him not wanting to be like his father who died a "weak" man. When he returned from exile, he realized that hi village has changed drastically to the cultural adaption to Christianity. When a meeting was held to make a decision against the missionaries, Okonkwo was shocked that no one wanted to fight. He thought of them as weak and did not want any parts of that. This lead him to taking his own life.

atyourservice's profile pic

atyourservice | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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He has too much pride. He was raised by a father who was no good and was made fun of for being weak and unfortunate. Okonkwo took this as a lesson to not be weak, he surrounded himself with a solid wall and rose against all odds, but once he reached a status he would have never been able to reach he grew a lot of pride. He was also a traditional men and believed in being macho. So when he saw his village change, and how he was no longer as respected as before, his pride wouldn't allow him to fall to a low level such as to be controlled by a whole 'nother group of people, and he couldn't accept the fact that his people were not fighting back and that he was about to be disgraced by being arrested so he decided to take his own life. 

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