An anti-hero is a central character in a story who lacks conventional heroic attributes, has flaws and ultimate fortune traditionally assigned to villains but has enough heroic qualities to gain the sympathy of the readers. In the book things fall apart Okonkwo is the protagonist who leads his village called Umofia. He does anything to make sure he isn’t viewed as weak by the people in his village. Okonkwo was already recognized as one of the greatest men in the 9 villages and although he did many things that got him respect from the people in the village, that doesn’t make him a hero most people would acknowledge.
Okonkwo is an anti-hero because he kills the innocent, doesn’t follow the law, and lets his past be an excuse for every mistake he makes. Okonkwo doesn’t listen to Ezeudu and he goes on and kills Ikemefuna, someone that saw him as a father figure. For example, in chapter 7 Ezeudu says “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death” and “I want you to have nothing to do with it. He calls you his father. ” (Achebe 57). Okonkwo is told multiple times to not participate in the killing of his adoptive son, Ikemefuna but he still doesn’t listen.
Okonkwo tries to separate his feelings from his responsibilities so he kills his own son instead just to not seem weak in front of the people in his village. For example, Okonkwo “heard Ikemefuna cry ‘my father they have killed me! ’ As he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak. ” (Achebe 57). Killing the innocent isn’t very heroic, Okonkwo could control his internal fear of being thought weak, but instead he gives into it and does the wrong choice.
By having Okonkwo kill his adoptive son he lost respect from his son, ezeudu, and the reader. Okonkwo isn’t a hero because he doesn’t follow the law. He didn’t go through with the week of peace and he uses violence for everything. Okonkwo “broke the peace and was punished”(Achebe 29) He didn’t follow the week of peace and decided to “beat his youngest wife just because she didn’t get home early enough to cook the afternoon meal” (Achebe 29). He was so enraged and focused on beating his wife, he had forgotten the law.
He lacked respect and fear to the earth goddess, the God in charge of the week of peace. He also lacked morals towards his own family. His short temper is what makes him not be a hero and gives Okonkwo less of a chance to gain people’s sympathy. Furthermore, Okonkwo not only abuses women but he also hits his own young son. For example, when Nwoye found out his brother was dead he “burst into tears, whereupon his father beat him. ” (Achebe 57).
Then when Nwoye started showing interest in Christianity he felt like he couldn’t trust his own father so “he dared not to go too near the missionaries for fear of his own father. ” (Achebe 149) since his father had almost choked him. Okonkwo uses physical and mental violence and he doesn’t care who he uses it with. Nwoye can’t have his own opinions or be himself without having his father look down on him and beat him. Okonkwo can’t be a hero because he makes people be scared of being themselves and be scared of him physically.
Okonkwo lets his past be an excuse for every mistake he makes and he’s too arrogant to own up to it. For example, Okonkwo was alone most of his life since his dad was such a bad father. He had to do everything by himself and had to grow with a bad influence of a father which is what made him be as strong as he is portrayed. (Chapter 1). Okonkwo did a lot of bad things just like he did good things but we also have to take in mind the reason he is like that.
He lived alone without a good father figure since his dad owned a lot of debts and was never there for him which influenced Okonkwo’s character a lot and made him the way he is. Moreover, Okonkwo promises himself “to hate everything his father had loved”. His dad, Unoka was considered a bad person and was looked down by many so Okonkwo does anything to not be seen like his father by the people in the village and even though Okonkwo already achieved that he still pushes it and does many uncivilized things just to be the complete opposite of his father.
Okonkwo isn’t anywhere close to being a hero. He kills the innocent, doesn’t follow the law, and doesn’t own up to his mistakes and blames it on others. Okonkwo is portrayed as a strong guy who will do anything to achieve his goals but not a lot of people notice all the wrong choices he makes just to be accepted and for him to feel good about himself.