Tragic Heroes: The Similarities Between Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart and Medea

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

“A man doesn’t become an hero until he can see the root of his own downfall” said by famous Aristotle, as he was describing a tragic hero.

The books Medea and Things Fall Apart characters, Medea and Okonkwo are both tragic heros. A tragic hero, in my opinion, is a character that makes a bad decision or does something that is bad and soon it leads to their own downfall. A tragic hero has some common characteristics including, an flaw, a reversal of fortune, anagnorisis, pride, and an character’s fate must be greater than what they deserve. These traits are just some clues, the character in your story is a tragic hero. There is no exact list to what a tragic hero’s characteristics have to be.

Medea and Okonkwo have similarities including, they both end in tragic ways, they both show their emotions and they both have a anger issue. They also had an couple differences including, that Okonkwo relied on no one while Medea relied on her husband, Jason and men ruled over women in Things Fall Apart as for Medea, you don’t see an overpowering of another gender as much. Firstly, comparing Okonkwo and Medea, the books ended in tragic ways. Okonkwo ended up hanging himself, as for Medea she got away with it which is odd for an tragic hero, seeing how most of them get killed or kill themselves like Okonkwo. Medea goes against the tragic hero suggested characteristics by getting away with what she did and not facing the consequences for what she did. The tragic part of it, is for the family. That she had to kill her children for almost nothing. Another example of a comparison between Medea and Okonkwo is that they both have a anger issue.

“If you bring us all this way for nothing I shall beat sense into you.“ is a example of Okonkwo threatening someone he didn’t even know. It shows that he didn’t care about anything or anyone and only cared about what he wanted. Okonkwo on multiple occasions beats his wives and almost shoots his first wife, Ekwefi, for not doing something he asked of her. This is another example of Okonkwo’s anger problem and shows he has no patience once so ever. Like Okonkwo, Medea had an huge anger issue and couldn’t hold back her emotions. “Medea hates her sons… I dread to think of what is hatching in her mind” was said by her own nurse, showing that she was unpredictable and capable of anything. Okonkwo and Medea also have killing their children in common.

Although Okonkwo didn’t actually kill his own kid, he killed Ikemefuna, which was basically his own kid, seeing how Ikemefuna started calling Okonkwo father. Okonkwo’s biggest fear was being like his father, lazy and worthless, so he didn’t rely on anyone. Everything he accomplished, he did by himself because his father always relied on someone. Medea in the beginning of the book is super depressed and relied on Jason to bring her happiness. So when Jason left her for a better woman, she broke down, and it ended up making her go crazy. It brought out feelings of revenge and evil from the depths of her.

In my opinion, i believe if she would have relied on herself for happiness, she wouldn’t have broken down and felt forced to do all of these evil things.


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