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What are characteristics of a tragic hero?
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- First, a tragic hero is usually of noble birth and is esteemed greatly in society. Of course, he or she is not perfect, but a cut or two above the rest.
- Second, this figure has a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his or her downfall (harmatia).
- Third, in the course of the tragedy, there is a sudden change (peripeteia) due the tragic flaw.
- The audience must feel pity and fear for this character and also at times feel a catharsis at the end of the play in the resolution.
It is best to go back to Aristotle, as a scholar who knew the ancients well and defined tragedy. Aristotle says:
"a [tragic hero is one ] who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness or wickedness but because of some mistake."
He also says:
"a [tragic hero is] one of those who stand in great repute and prosperity, like Oedipus and Thyestes: conspicuous men from families of that kind."
Based on these two quotes, we can make the following conclusions:
To make these points concrete, all you need to do is think of the characteristic and life of Oedipus and Antigone.
Posted by readerofbooks on February 16, 2012 at 11:43 PM (Answer #1)
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The characteristics of a tragic hero include the following:
1.born into some form of nobility or wisdom (remember that in ancient times, nobility was the royal family; modernly, nobility could be social.)
2.has a personality trait that leads to his/her downfall
3.should be neither good nor bad, but the audience should be able to identify with the character.
4.responsible for his/her own fate.
5.will fall from great heights or esteem when s/he realizes s/he has made an irreversible mistake.
6.will face a tragic death with honor.
Remember that a tragic hero doesn't have to meet ALL of these characteristics, but should meet most of them.
Posted by senioreeto on February 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM (Answer #2)
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