Tragic Heroes Essay Research Paper Since the

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Tragic Heroes Essay, Research Paper Since the beginning of time, people discussed and analyzed the concept of the tragic hero in epic poetry and other stories. An epic poem consists of a hero of high caliber whose actions affect a nation or a group of people. The deeds of this hero must be exceedingly brave and have supernatural elements. Many of these stories first began as an oral tradition then eventually became written pieces of literature. ?Oral literature comprises a vast range of verbal products, including modern blues lyrics, African drum songs, ancient Greek epic poetry, folk tales, etc….? Even when the heroes are characters of different authors, they share common characteristics and abide by certain personality traits which define them as heroes. A hero is an

example of valiancy and intelligence. In times of danger a hero must remain strong, brave, and audacious. Many epic poems consist of tragedy?s. Tragedies consist of several key points. First, they cannot be discussed and must be able to be acted out. They also include a hero of high stature and nobility. The tragic hero must have a tragic flaw, such as an excess of pride, ambition, passion, or some other trait that leads directly to disaster. Aristotle describes that the key element to a tragedy is that it should invoke Catharsis. The spectators should be purged of their emotions of pity and fear through their vicarious participation in the drama. In the Greek times, these plays were the center of their culture and society. They used tragedies to demonstrate how fragile their own

lives could be. If a hero couldn?t escape fate and pain then either could they. It also enforced the theory that no one is above the gods and no person can control their destiny. Finally, a tragedy must employ formal, poetic writing with the use of noble language. Four stories that demonstrate a tragedy which a tragic hero are Hamlet, Beowulf, Frankenstein, and Oedipus Rex. These stories show how the tragic hero had evolved throughout history and how our changing society has impacted it. The epic poem Beowulf, author unknown, discusses the meaning of a hero in there primitive society. A nefarious monster named Grendel comes to plague Heorot, the mead hall of Hrothgar, king of the Danes. The monster battles in the hall for 12 years before Beowulf, prince of the Geats, comes to

destroy this villainous creature. Beowulf engages the monster when it broke into the hall one night and kills him by ripping off his arms. Grendel?s mother seeks revenge by stealing one of the Danes and Beowulf dives down into the monster?s lair in the nearby lake, and kills Grendel?s mother with a sword sent from the gods. Beowulf returns home to become king of the Geats. After many years a Geatish slave breaks into the lair of a dragon which wakes him. The dragon begins to ravage the countryside before Beowulf faces this ferocious beast with the help of his retainer Wicglaf. Beowulf was mortally wounded in the battle but with his remaining strength, was able to defeat the dragon. Wicglaf returns to the Geats to proclaim Beowulf?s accomplishment. Beowulf is considered a hero

because he a man of exceptional quality. According to Talvin Walter, ?The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of a hero.? Men of this time were godless, fearless, fame seeking, strong, and most of all, courageous. Warriors were in search of these things and often achieved them through completing daring deeds, withstanding harsh conditions, or beating the odds. ?There are also noble things in Beowulf- not only loyalty and dauntless courage but courtesy in the hall and respect for ladies; the style too has a grave dignity throughout; and the figure of the old king going out to fight to die for his people, is truly heroic.? (Grierson 3) Beowulf?s self-imposed purpose was to help others in need, and eventually sacrifices his own