Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In what way can "Things Fall Apart" be considered a tragedy? In what way not?

In what way can "Things Fall Apart" be considered a tragedy? In what way not?

Expert Answers info

Ellen O'Keefe, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookPh.D. from University of Miami (Fla.)


calendarEducator since 2016

write747 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Arts, and Law and Politics

A classical tragedy is a play in which the protagonist, who is a high-ranking and powerful character, falls from his position of power as a result of a tragic flaw. His tragic flaw will cause him to act in ways that lead to his own demise, whether that means his death or his disgrace. One great example of a classical tragedy is Oedipus Rex, in which the King of Thebes realizes he has unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy that he will marry his mother and murder his father; as a result of his metaphorical blindness and of his arrogance as king, Oedipus blinds himself and is exiled, fated to live as a beggar the rest of his life. Some later tragedies, like those of Shakespeare, follow the same basic format in the sense that the main character, often a king or powerful man, has an internal flaw that leads him to make terrible choices that eventually result in his downfall.

Things Fall Apart is a novel, not a play, but it can be considered a tragedy because Okonkwo could be seen as a tragic hero, and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 788 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,435 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write1,918 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial