NEXT Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Tragedy Anticipation Stage Okonkwo sets out to make his own reputation and fortune. Okonkwo feels a deep insecurity about being like his father — weak and effeminate. Okonkwo plays by all the rules of the tribe.
Okonkwo is a respected leader within the Igbo formerly spelled Ibo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. About twenty years ago, Okonkwo distinguished himself and brought honor to his village when he wrestled and threw to the ground Amalinze the Cat, a man who had not been defeated for seven years.
Since then, Okonkwo's reputation as a wrestler has grown throughout the nine villages of Umuofia. He is known to be quickly angered, especially when dealing with unsuccessful men like his father, who died ten years ago deeply in debt.
Because of Unoka's laziness and wastefulness, the community had considered him a failure and laughingstock; he was a continual source of deep shame to Okonkwo. Even though he had a family to care for, Unoka frequently borrowed money and then squandered it on palm-wine and merrymaking with his neighbors, thus neglecting his family who barely had enough to eat.
The story is told about the day, years ago, when Unoka was visited by Okoye, a successful neighbor. After the traditional ceremonial courtesies and small talk, Okoye asked Unoka for the two hundred cowries that Unoka had borrowed two years earlier. Okoye needed the money for the ceremony in which he would purchase the third highest title of honor.
Unoka burst into laughter and pointed to the wall on which he recorded his debts.
He told Okoye that tradition required him to repay his largest debts before repaying small ones like his debt to Okoye. Okoye left without his money. Despite his father's shameful reputation, Okonkwo is now highly respected in Umuofia, which honors individual achievement rather than family heritage.
Still a young man in his thirties, Okonkwo has become a wealthy farmer of yams — a sacred crop — and supports three wives, a significant indicator of wealth and "manliness. Because Okonkwo is honored as one of the greatest men in his community, he will be asked to look after a young man who will be given as a peace offering to Umuofia by the neighboring village of Mbaino, which hopes to avoid war with Umuofia.
Analysis Although not indicated in this chapter, the events of Things Fall Apart take place in the late s and early s, just before and during the early days of the British Empire's expansion in Nigeria.
The novel depicts details about life in an African culture much different from Western culture. In this chapter, Achebe reveals the following aspects of Igbo culture: Legends and traditions the fight with a spirit of the wild by the founder of their village Symbols of honor titles Indicators of wealth yams, cowries Marriage customs more than one wife The reckoning of time markets, a week of four days Social rituals kola nuts, alligator pepper, chalk, small talk, and proverbs Music, entertainment, food, and drink In his goal to demonstrate the complexity and sophistication of Igbo society, Achebe gradually introduces these details when they are relevant to the story.
Chapter 1 describes Okonkwo's principal accomplishments that establish his important position in Igbo society. These details alone provide insight into Okonkwo's character and motivation. Driving himself toward tribal success and recognition, he is trying to bury the unending shame that he feels regarding the faults and failures of his late father, Unoka.
Essentially, Okonkwo exhibits qualities of manhood in Igbo society.
Familiar with Western literature and its traditional forms, Achebe structures Things Fall Apart in the tradition of a Greek tragedy, with the story centered around Okonkwo, the tragic hero.Get an answer for 'Why does Things Fall Apart function as a tragedy?' and find homework help for other Things Fall Apart questions at eNotes.
Discuss Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe as a. Things Fall Apart- the tragedy of an individual or the tragedy of society? Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a tragedy of an individual as well as the society.
The protagonist of the novel, Okonko who was rich and respectable at the beginning of the novel meets a tragic fate at the end of the novel. and his tragedy occurs when the tribe. In this first chapter, Achebe sets up Okonkwo as a man much respected for his considerable achievements and noble virtues — key qualities of a tragic hero.
Okonkwo's tragic flaw is his obsession with manliness; his fear of looking weak like his father drives him to commit irrational acts of violence that undermine his nobleness. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe follows the classic model of a tragedy and can be compared to several works, particularly works from antiquity such as Oedipus the King and stories from Shakespeare such as Macbeth and Hamlet.
A tragedy is a drama in which the tragic hero comes to a disastrous end. The story involves a tribe in Nigeria and a great respected leader who ends up where he never thought he would.
Keeping all of these characteristics in mind, the story Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a prime example of a tragedy. The protagonist of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is also considered a tragic hero.
A tragic hero holds a position of power and prestige, chooses his course of action, possesses a tragic flaw, and gains awareness of circumstances that lead to his fall.
Okonkwo's tragic flaw is his fear of weakness and failure.