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Irony in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

That year the harvest was sad, like a funeral, and many farmers wept as they dug up the miserable and rotting yams. One man tied his cloth to a tree branch and hanged himself. Okonkwo remembered that tragic year with a cold shiver throughout the rest of his life. It always surprised him when he thought of it later that he did not sink under the load of despair. He knew that he was a fierce fighter, but that year had been enough to break the heart of a lion.

“Since I survived that year,” he always said, “I shall survive anything.” He put it down to his inflexible will. His father, Unoka, who was then an ailing man, had said to him during that terrible harvest month: “Do not despair. I know that you will not despair. You have a manly and a proud heart. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.”

The above passages were taken from the end of chapter three, part one. After finishing reading this book and then going back through it, I found these passages very ironic in regards to how the story eventually ended. Okonkwo believed that because he was such a fierce fighter, he could conquer anything life threw at him. However, it was his fierce, proud, fighting attitude that was his demise in the face of uncontrollable circumstances in the end. Okonkwo believed that war and brute fighting would fix everything. He was a proud and stubborn man constantly struggling to improve his standing in the tribal community. Okonkwo also had intense pride for his tribe and way of life. He believed it was the right way of life and not to be questioned. Everyone was supposed to fear war with Umofia due to their fierce warriors and greatness in battle. When the white men not only did not fear them, but openly threatened the tribal way of life, Okonkwo prepared to handle the situation the only way he knew how. He wanted to got to war against the new white invaders, chasing them from tribal lands and ending the threat of different ways of life.

The passage ends with, “it is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.

Doctor Faustus as Tragic Hero

Doctor Faustus as Tragic Hero

Doctor Faustus died a death that few could bear to imagine, much less experience. After knowing for many years when exactly he would die, he reached the stroke of the hour of his destiny in a cowardly, horrid demeanor. Finally, when the devils appeared at the stroke of midnight, tearing at his flesh as they draw him into his eternal torment, he screams for mercy without a soul, not even God Himself, to help him. However, what to consider Doctor John Faustus from Christopher Marlow’s dramatic masterpiece The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is a very debatable issue. For example, one can see that he threw his life away for the sake of knowledge, becoming obsessed with the knowledge that he could possess. In this case, he is unarguably a medieval tragic hero. However, when considering the fact that he died for the sake of gaining knowledge, pushing the limits of what is possible in spite of obvious limitations and, eventually, paying the ultimate penalty, he could be considered a Renaissance martyr. These two points of view have their obvious differences, and depending on from what time period one chooses to place this piece of literature varies the way that the play is viewed. However, the idea of considering him a martyr has many flaws, several of which are evident when considering who Faustus was before he turned to necromancy and what he did once he obtained the powers of the universe. Therefore, inevitably, the audience in this play should realize that Faustus was a great man who did many great things, but because of his hubris and his lack of vision, he died the most tragic of heroes.

Christopher Marlowe was born on February 6, 1564 (Discoverin…

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…is truly merciful because he forgave such a blasphemous heathen as Faustus. Faustus could have become an example for all of mankind and proven that if he could be forgiven, then all could be forgiven. However, because he was stubborn, ignorant, and blind, he refused to see that he was never truly damned until he was drug by the devils into the heart of hell itself.

Works Cited:

Discovering Christopher Marlowe

Henderson, Philip. Christopher Marlowe. New York: Barnes

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