A Man of the People and Hubris: Odili as Nanga’s Nemesis

Ngozi Dora Ulogu; Christiana Obiageli Udogu


Hubris in Greek mythology deals with self pride and over confidence in an individual acquired over a time. Achebe’s A man of the People is often read as a political novel that presents corruption and excesses of political leaders usually manifest in the use of political powers. Odili Samalu a teacher turned politician, and the Chief the Honourable Minister, Chief Nanga, a seasoned and corrupt politician overreached themselves in the pursuit of personal and political ambitions. Both become friends for a short while and get at each other’s end. Each, subsequently through their social interactions and political activities develops excessive self confidence and pride otherwise known as hubris. Chief Nanga’s hubris will be understood in his social and political activities with his people whom he holds to sway in his political constituency and particularly with his former pupil Odili who becomes his nemesis and his downfall. Using Karen Horney’s Psychoanalytic social theory, the paper will make a literary analysis of Odili as Nanga’s nemesis and catalyst to Nanga’s hubris and consequential tragic downfall. The paper will specifically explore Nanga’s political autocratic excesses orchestrated by Odili’s deterministic idealism and resolve to avenge his humiliation by Nanga.

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