Romeo, A Tragic Hero in Shakespeare´s Romeo and Juliet

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Having captivated man for thousands of years, throughout numerous civilizations, tragedies give the audience an opportunity to identify with the main character, or tragic hero, and give them an opportunity to experience a full catharsis, which is the purging of emotions such as pity and fear and the figurative purification of the conscious. According to Aristotle, a basic tragic hero must be noble, have a definitive flaw that eventually causes their demise, and suffer a punishment that far exceeds their crime. Heroes such as these are very evident in the works of famous playwrights such as William Shakespeare. The tale, Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare, follows the tragic story of two lovers; one of which who was, in some way or another, a tragic hero. Based on Aristotelian ideals, Romeo is considered a tragic hero because he was noble of both spirit and bloodlines, he possessed a dangerously tragic flaw, and, although his end was inevitable, he ultimately died with honor. With this said, even though a tragic hero’s existence is centered around unwarranted suffering and bad decisions, they must be admirable in some way - and in Romeo’s case, as with the typical tragic hero, this admirable trait was his high social ranking. Born as the only son to Lord Montague - the head of one of Verona’s most esteemed families - Romeo held a rather high title in the eyes of Verona’s citizens and was fairly well-known. So well-known in fact that, even when he’d attended Lord Capulet’s feast uninvited, instead of being punished for his insolence, Capulet - enemy of the entire Montague family - spoke fondly of Romeo, and temporarily kept him out of trouble with the hot-headed Tybalt by commenting that “he bears him[self] like a portly ge... ... middle of paper ... As a result, Romeo’s emotions drove him into a thick bout of depression that, seemingly, had no end. However, as soon as he had lain eyes on Juliet, his feelings for Rosaline were abandoned completely - even though he claimed that he’d never love again - and he begun to pursue Juliet with as much passion as he did Rosaline. This sudden change was even noted by Friar Laurence, who had chided Romeo upon hearing his news with a stern reminder of his previous love, “is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear, so soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes”. (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 3) What the Friar said was extremely true, especially in Romeo’s case, for he was guided by his haughty emotions and not only fell for Juliet, but asked her to marry him that night, even though he hardly knew anything about her.
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