• Track Your Paper
  • Submit Now
  • Join Us

ISSN: 2456-7620

Tragedy in two African heroic genres: Focus on Achebe’s Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart and Kunene’s Shakain Emperor Shaka the Great, A Zulu Epic

Tragedy in two African heroic genres: Focus on Achebe’s Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart and Kunene’s Shakain Emperor Shaka the Great, A Zulu Epic ( Vol-2,Issue-6,November - December 2017 )

Author: Bazimaziki Gabriel

Keyword: Literature, novel, epic, protagonist, fame, tragic fall, flaw, fate.

Abstract: Literature comes to readers in various forms of different shapes and conveys messages about human beings’ power and deeds that make them rank high or dwindle drastically. Among other literary forms, epics, tragedy and novels depict human heroic exploits but also tragic fall. In this study, the researcher intended to compare Achebe’s central character in his realistic novel, Things Fall Apart and Kunene’s in EmperorShaka the Great, A ZuluEpic. The study explores the tragic flaw of Okonkwo and Shaka. Based on a dual theoretical framework namely Christopher Booker‘s stages of the tragic flaw and Aristotelian theory of the tragic hero, the researcher used literary analysis as the scientific method to cement the discussion. It was found that Shaka,- the protagonist in Emperor Shaka the Great, A Zulu Epic and Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart share a number of tragic features bent with fate and tragic flaw of each. They both committed an error that made them dwindle drastically hence their abrupt death each.


[1] Achebe, Chinua (1958). Things Fall Apart. Nairobi: Heinemann
[2] Bazimaziki Gabriel (2017) Depiction of human society through epic literary genres: A comparative perspective of the function of two African heroic epics. International Journal of English and Literature. 8(5). pp 63-73
[3] Booker, C.(2006) The Seven Basic Plots. Why we tell stories. London: Bloomsbur
[4] Brown. Bakhtin, M.M. (1981).The Epic and the Novel: Towards a Methodology for the Study in the Novel. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press.
[5] Deme, Mariam K.(2009). Heroism and the Supernatural in the African Epic: Toward a Critical Analysis. Journal of Black Studies 39 (3): 402–19.
[6] Durosimi Eldred Jones, Palmer Eustache, & Marjorie Jones (Eds.) Orature in African Literature Today. London: African World Press, Vol. 18.pp.6. 80
[7] Foley, A.(2001) Okonkwo’s fate and the worldview of Things Fall Apart. Literator 22(2)39- 59. Retrieved from http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565351/things-fall-apart-by-chinua-achebe/9780679446231. ISSN 0258-2279
[8] Gill, Richard (1995). Mastering English Literature. New York: Palgrave.
[9] Harmon William and Holman Hugh (1992). A Handbook to Literature. 10th Ed. New York: Macmillan.
[10] Hogins, James B. (1984). Literature.3rd Ed. Chicago: Science Research Associate.
[11] Elliot, J. & Hawker, S. (1999) Concise Oxford Dictionary.
[12] Kesteloot ,Lilyan (1989). The African Epic author(s). African Languages and Cultures. Vol.2, No. 2 pp. 203-214 Published by: Taylor & Francis. Available from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1771787.
[13] Kesteloot, Lilyan and BassirouDieng. (1997). Les épopéesd’Afrique Noire. Paris: Editions Karthala.
[14] Kesteloot, Lylian (ed.) (1971). L’EpopéeTraditionnelle. Paris: Fern Nathan.
[15] Kunene, M. (1979). Emperor Shaka the Great, A Zulu Epic. London: Heinemann
[16] Mbele Joseph (2005) Notes on Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Africonection: Minnesota [On line] Available from http://www.africonection.com [Retrieved on 7th October 2017].
[17] Muich, Rebecca M. (2010). Pouring out our tears: Andromache in Homer and Euripides. Illinois: University of Illinois (A Doctoral Thesis).
[18] Mulokozi M., M. (2002). The African Epic Controversy: Historical, Philosophical, and Aesthetic Per-spectives on Epic Poetry and Performances. Dar es Salaam: MkukinaNyota Publishers.
[19] Mulokozi, M., M. (2002) The African epic controversy. Journal of Folklore. New York: Walter de Gruyter.
[20] Mulokozi, M., M. (1992). Nordic Journal of African Studies 1 (2): 71–80. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
[21] Niane, D.T. (1965). Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. London: Longman.
[22] Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (1967) A Grain of Wheat. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers.
[23] Okpewho, I. (1979). The Epic in Africa. New York: CUP.
[24] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2015)(8th Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[25] Rajeshwari, R. S.&Bhuvaneshwari R. S. (2016) Tragic dimension in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Pune Research Discovery: An International Journal of Advanced Studies.1 (2)
[26] Ritter, I, A. (1964). Shaka Zulu. London: Green.
[27] Rummell, K. (2002). Toni Morrison's "Beloved": Transforming the African heroic epic. The Griot 21(1).
[28] Scholes, Robert (1978). Elements of Literature: Essay, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Film. New York: Oxford University.
[29] Schweizer, Bernard (ed.) (2006). Approaches to the Anglo and American Female Epic, 1621-1982. Hamphshire: Ashgate. ISBNO754654869. Available from http://www.ashgate.com [Retrieved on 25th August 2012 at 6:30 p.m].
[30] Sporre, J. Dennis (1998). The Literary Spirit. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
[31] World Book Encyclopedia (2016), Vol.22 (Online) available fromhttps://www.amazon.com/World-Book-Encyclopedia-2016-Set/dp/0716601168
[32] Wright, D. (1957) Beowulf (trans.) New York: Penguin Book.

ijeab doi crossrefDOI: 10.24001/ijels.2.6.7

Total View: 125 Downloads: 47 Page No: 034-045