Tragic Heroes Essay Research Paper The Tragic

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Tragic Heroes Essay, Research Paper The Tragic Hero In literature, there are many different styles that can be used to convey a story to the reader. One of these styles is Tragedy. When an author writes a tragedy, he has to make the readers feelings sympathetic to the ideas or plot that he is putting forth. S. H Butcher correctly points out that “Tragedy, according to definition, acts on the feelings, not on the will”(269). Because this is so the author must play on the readers feelings in order to create a well crafted tragedy that will been seen as a great literary work. The author of a tragedy must create the feelings of pity and fear. This is to make the reader feel the impact of the tragedy that occurs in the story. The author creates pity so that the reader will

start to open up their feelings to the subject at hand. Aristotle defines pity as: The kind of pain we feel at the sight of a fatal or painful evil which happens to one who does not deserve it, an evil which we might expect to befall ourselves or one of those close to us . Clearly, to feel pity a person must think that he himself, or someone belonging to him, is liable to suffer..(Aristotle xxiii) So this is the feeling the author must make the audience experience when writing a tragedy. Fear is the other component of composing a good tragedy. The reader needs to experience fear coupled with pity in order to get the complete affect of the drama that is presented to them. As Butcher explains, pity transforms into fear when the object is so closely related to the reader that the

suffering seems to be the suffering of the reader himself (256). This simply means the when someone reads a tragedy that person must feel that suffering is his also. Therefore, in general, the author must make the reader feel pity or sympathy for the people in the tragedy and they must also feel the situation is their dilemma also. There are a couple of ways that the author can accomplish the fulfillment of these needs, but the one that will be discussed is the tragic hero. A tragic hero is a prominent character in the story that possesses certain qualities that cause the character to have a tremendous fall in the story. Aristotle feels that a character in a tragedy has to have a number of required personal attributes in order to be considered as a tragic hero. First, the

character must be of high social status like a king, prince, or some other high ranking figure in the story. Secondly, the character must not be ” outstanding in righteousness, or in wickedness and vice (269). To put in simple terms the character must not be perfect nor should they be evil. Next, the character should posses some great hamartia, through which he should fall by (269). A hamartia is either a moral weakness or a mistake in judgement. Lastly, Aristotle feels that the ending of the tragedy cannot be a happy it must be one that fills the reader with “the thrill of fear or tragic awe” (Butcher 311). Aristotle is correct in his definition of a tragic hero. The observations that he has made about the personal traits that are needed to be a tragic hero are completely

accurate and each of these qualities has a purpose in being part of the characters personality. By making the character a person that has a prominent position in society the repercussions of the characters hamartia is felt by more than just the character himself, but also many other people in the play. This function also causes the reader to begin to think about how important this character is and if it can happen to a person of high status then it could happen to someone like me. The next trait is that the character should not be perfect, nor should he be evil. This is important because it connects the reader to the character in the sense that even though the character is high in social status the character is still just a regular person like them. Moving on, the character must