Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero

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Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero Before I decide on whether Eddie Carbone is a tragic hero, we must define what the word 'tragic' and 'hero' actually mean. 'Tragic'- A tragedy is a type of drama. A tragedy traces the fall of the central figure, the 'hero', as he grapples with his destiny. Historically, tragedy started in Ancient Greece. Greek tragedies usually formed on a very important and powerful figure (a king or a prince perhaps) who makes an error or judgement or who has a hamartia (fatal flaw) that leads to his tragic downfall. In the context of a tragedy, the word 'hero' means the central character or protagonist (the hero) whom we admire or respect in some way, but who is flawed or imperfect and where his flawed character contributes to his own downfall. A hero is consequently not a perfect character, not even necessarily a pleasant one. His plight illustrates the cruelty of the world, and how one man faces up to his fate. It is important that a tragic hero acquires some self-knowledge, that he faces up to his own predicament, with honesty and openness. Now, in order to find out to what extent Eddie is a tragic hero, we must ask ourselves the following questions: a) do we admire or respect him, b) what is his fatal flaw, c) do we have any sympathy with Eddie, d) is Eddie just pitiable, beneath our contempt, and e) does Eddie ever gain self-knowledge? Does he ever gain any insight into his own character? Lets start with the first question. Do we admire or respect Eddie? In some respects the answer is yes, and in others no. Yes we do because he has decided to take on the task of bringing up his niece, for whate... ... middle of paper ... ...rrive early on in the play, he was very selfish and very over protective of Catherine. He is very jealous of Rodolpho, and hence bullies him. However Marco makes sure Eddie doesn't harm Rodolpho physically by showing off how strong he is (and also subtly hinting at how he could beat Eddie in a fight). He does this by showing that he can lift a chair by only one of its legs, whereas Eddie is unable to. Unfortunately Eddie seemingly misses this hint of Marco's power, and this in turn leads to his death. All in all, what we can see Eddie is a protagonist whom we all respect to start with, but indeed he has a fatal flaw, which his inability to be emotionally articulate, especially within himself and he becomes a tragic hero as we watch his downfall from the beginning of the play. So is Eddie Carbone a tragic hero? Yes.
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