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The Tragic Hero. Aristotle: "A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall."

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The tragic hero
The Tragic Hero

  • Aristotle: "A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall."

  • In Poetics, Aristotle defines the TRAGIC HERO as a noble or virtuous character who has a major flaw and for whom the audience usually feels pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion. In other words, the hero of a tragedy experiences a change of fortune not from bad to good, but reversely from good to bad (peripeteia).

  • Typically of noble birth or one who is highly renowned or prosperous

  • A fatal or tragic flaw that leads to the characters downfall (hamartia)

  • The hero’s downfall is his own fault and results from free choice, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. 

  • Leads to increased self-awareness and self-knowledge

  • Examples: Harvey Dent, Othello/Hamlet/Macbeth/Lear, Anakin Skywalker, ThorinOakenshield

  • To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero at this point in the play?