The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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Which character in "The Glass Menagerie" could be considered a tragic hero?

Which character in "The Glass Menagerie" could be considered a tragic hero?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One could argue that Tom Wingfield is the tragic hero in Tennessee William's classic play The Glass Menagerie . While Tom does not possess all of the qualities of a traditional tragic hero, he has incredible potential to become a renowned poet, author, or playwright and suffers throughout his life. Tom is depicted as a talented, imaginative individual, who is stuck in a difficult position, where he is unable to reach his potential because he is committed to taking care of his mother and sister. Tom is the breadwinner of the family and absolutely hates his life working endless hours in a shoe warehouse and listening to his mother fantasize about Laura's gentlemen callers. Similar to a tragic hero, the audience sympathizes with Tom's difficulties and witnesses him make a drastic, life-altering decision. In order for Tom to reach his potential as an artist, he decides to leave his helpless mother and sister to pursue his dreams and fulfill his creative desires. In doing so, Tom finds...

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