Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a critique of the imperialistic colonization of Africa. Throughout the novel, the western world is portrayed as arrogant, self-serving, and ethnocentric. The imperialists treat Africa and her inhabitants as items to be conquered and commandeered for their own uses and abuses.
Like many great works of the western world, however, Things Fall Apart is a story in the tradition of Greek tragedy and the main character, Okonkwo, is most certainly a tragic hero. His great weakness—that others will see or perceive weakness of any kind in him—drives him to make rash decisions in order please the imperialists. The great irony, however, is that in doing so he alienates himself from his own people and is never truly respected by the imperialists.