In "The Veldt", by Ray Bradbury, is George considered a tragic hero?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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When we teach about the common traits of the tragic hero, the first thing we ask to consider is whether the character in question has a basic flaw that may render him or her prone to becoming a victim. 

Adding to this the Aristotelian description of the tragic hero, this is a type of character

who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.

If describe George Hadley within these parameters we could say that he is, indeed, a tragic hero. The Aristotelian view of the "hero" does not necessarily apply to someone who is entirely good and virtuous, but to a typical man or woman with which the reader can identify.

This being said, George is a typical man with a basic flaw: he is not the best parent around. Because he is not a good parent, he is rendered weak and less powerful than his own children, and even than his nursery. As a result, they die.


Adding further evidence from the story "The Veldt", notice how George weakens when confronted with the possibility of asking his own children to limit their time at the virtual reality nursery. He cringes also at the possibility of even shutting it down for a while. After all, the nursery works with the children's own imagination which, as we can see has is slowly going of control.

You  know  how difficult  Peter is  about that. When  I punished him a month  ago  by locking  the  nursery for even  a few hours - the tantrum  be threw! And Wendy too. They live for the nursery.

These lines say a lot about the weakness of George's character. He would rather keep his children busy and entertained rather than having to face the music and establish rules. 

Who was it  said,  'Children are  carpets,  they should be  stepped onoccasionally'? We've never lifted a hand. They're insufferable - let's admitit. They  come and go when they like; they treat us as if we were offspring. They're spoiled and we're spoiled!

Therefore, the social enablers that come with the Happylife Home have spoiled the weaknesses of George, making him vulnerable to his environment. This is the reason why, in the end, he is a victim of it, along with his equally-enabling wife. 


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