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One could argue that Llewellyn Moss, the protagonist of Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men, is indeed a tragic hero in that he is a basically decent man brought low by hubris. Struggling financially through no fault of his own, Moss thinks he has discovered a windfall when he comes across a large stash of abandoned drug money. Unfortunately for him, he has not reckoned with the tenacity of the psychopath Anton Chigurh, who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the money which he believes is rightfully his.

Typical for a tragic hero, then, Moss has created the conditions for his own downfall. As with the likes of Oedipus, he also wages a futile fight against the conditions he has created. Try as he might, and no matter how hard he fights Chigurh, Moss cannot hold back fate. The pathos of his fall parallels the pathos of Ancient Greek tragedy.

Moss's hamartia, or fatal flaw, is manifested in his hubristic decision to take the drug money. But as with Ancient Greek tragedy, this is to an extent an unwitting error. He cannot reasonably foresee all the problems that will arise from his initial mistake. As a result of Moss's hamartia, another key element of Greek tragedy is generated: the reversal of fortune. Moss thinks he is fortunate to have found the loot, but in actual fact he is placing himself in considerable danger. Far from making his life better, the theft of this substantial sum of money leads to his death.

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