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The Hero, The Tragic Hero, and The Anti-Hero . The Hero. Traditionally in literature a hero is a character who possesses a strong moral fiber.  This is a character that seems to always do to right thing, no matter what the situation. 

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the hero
The Hero
  • Traditionally in literature a hero is a character who possesses a strong moral fiber. 
  • This is a character that seems to always do to right thing, no matter what the situation. 
  • A hero has a strong conviction, is dynamic, and/or has a certain magnetism that draws the reader to him/her. 
  • A hero does not necessarily complete their journey on their own, but they are the central character in the story.
  • A literary hero will complete the traditional Hero Cycle.
adventure threshold
  •  Step 1 The call to adventure 
  •  Step 2 Crossing the Adventure Threshold
  •  Step 3 Supreme Ordeal 
  •  Step 4 The Return 
tragic hero background
Tragic Hero Background
  • A tragic hero is often used in Shakespearean literature.
  • This model of a hero may not always be a “good guy”.
  • The tragic hero has made its way into more contemporary literature because audiences can relate to them.
  • A tragic hero follows a twelve step pattern. 
what defines shakespearean tragedy
What Defines Shakespearean Tragedy?  
  • A Tragic Hero 
  • The Tragic Flaw-Hamartia
  • Reversal of Fortune
  • Catharsis
  • Restoration of Social Order –Denouement
tragic hero traits
Tragic Hero Traits
  • The tragic hero is someone we, as an audience, look up to—someone superior.
  • The tragic hero is nearly perfect, and we identify with him/her
  • The hero has one flaw or weakness
  • We call this the ‘tragic flaw’, ‘fatal flaw’, or hamartia
reversal of fortune
Reversal of Fortune 
  • The ‘fatal flaw’ brings the hero down from his/her elevated state.
  • Renaissance audiences were familiar with the ‘wheel of fortune’ or ‘fickle fate’.
  • What goes up, must come down.
  •  We get the word ‘catharsis’ from Aristotle’s katharsis.
  • ‘Catharsis’ is the audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear.
  • The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.
  • This is why we cry during movies!
restoration of social order
Restoration of Social Order 
  • Tragedies include a private and a public element
  • The play cannot end until society is, once again, at peace.
  • This is why the Tragic Hero often dies!
tragic hero pattern
Tragic Hero Pattern
  • Step 1 – A protagonist of high estate
  •  Step 2 – A tragic flaw in character 
  • Step 3 – Intrusion of time, sense or urgency
  •  Step 4 – Misreading/Rationalizations
  • Step 5 – Murder, exile, alienation of enemies and allies
  • Step 6 – Gradual isolation of Tragic Hero
tragic hero pattern11
Tragic Hero Pattern
  • Step 7 – Mobilization of opposition 
  • Step 8 – Recognition of tragic flaw, too late
  • Step 9 – Last courageous attempt to restore greatness. 
  • Step 10 – Audience recognizes potential for greatness. 
  • Step 11 – Death of tragic hero.
  • Step 12 – Restoration of order.    
the anti hero
The Anti-Hero
  • The concept of an Anti-Hero is often used in darker literature.
  • The Anti-Hero is being used more in modern literature as authors try to portray villains as complex characters
  • An Anti-Hero relates to a reader because the Anti-Hero displays more humanity that a regular Hero.
  • Instead of a standard tragic flaw an Anti-Hero may try to do what is right by using questionable means.
anti hero traits
Anti-Hero Traits
  • Anti-Heroes can be obnoxious. 
  • Anti-Heroes can be pitiful. 
  • Anti-Heroes can be awkward. 
  • Anti-Heroes can be passive.    
types of anti hero
Types of Anti-Hero
  • Some Anti-Heroes may be unable to commit to traditional values of society. 
  • This type of Anti-Hero distrusts conventional society.
  • Another type of Anti-Hero cannot “get a break” in life. 
  • He/she will move from one disappointment to another, their efforts always ending in failure.
  • The Anti-hero does not always die at the end of a text
back to the text
Back to the Text

Step 1: Get into a group of 5-6 people

Step 2: Assign one person to be the scribe for your group

Step 3: Answer the following questions with textual support and analysis from acts 1 and 2 from Othello

  • Who is the Tragic hero?
  • Is there a hero?
  • Is there an anti-hero?