The Western hero is strong, handsome and sensitive. He is able to "leap tall buildings" and handle any crisis, but is also capable of feeling and showing love. Indeed, it is his love and his compassion for others that often leads him to take on the dangerous obstacles that solidify his hero status.
Trapped by the biases of his tribe and his culture, Okonkwo hides all feeling of sympathy and compassion and is thus distinguished from Western heroes. He is strong, larger than life, able to conquer obstacles. However, he is haunted by his effeminate father, terrified that the tribe will connect him with the personality traits that are so reviled in the community. Therefore, Okonkwo overcompensates. He rules with an iron fist, shows little mercy and no compassion. In Western literature, he would be best cast as the villian. In this novel, his successes make him a [tragic] hero.