Aristotle also enlightens certain characteristics that determine a tragic hero. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who commits an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in judgment, his tragic flaw, and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men fall from their arrogant social or political positions. According to Aristotle, a tragedy must be an imitation of life in the form of a serious story that is complete in it; in other words, the story must be realistic and narrow in focus. A good tragedy will evoke pity and fear in its viewers, causing the viewers to experience a feeling of catharsis.
Can A Tragic Hero exist in the Hero’s Journey? The tragic hero was a staple of Greek Drama. This type of hero forced audiences to fall in love with the character, only to have their heart broken when the character falls. Every tragic hero has a flaw that will eventually lead to his or her demise and this flaw is displayed through the play. For example in Oedipus Rex Oedipus’s flaw is that he is quick to anger.
One of the best ways to have a reversal and recognition is through a calamity. Combining these three elements correctly generates a powerful tragic plot. The sixth and last element is the audience’s response. In The Poetics Aristotle said that a tragedy should produce both pity and fear (catharsis) in the audience. “The plot should be so constructed that even without seeing the play anyone hearing of the incidents happening thrills with fear and pity as a result of what occurs.” Aristotle also stated, “the one [pity] being for the man who does not deserve his misfortune and the other [fear] for t... ... middle of paper ... ... character that was to go through it and wondering why does it have to happen like that.
In Aristotle’s definition, the tragic hero must be a person of high standing so their fall from glory will be all the more horrible. The hero’s story must evoke pity for the hero and fear of his fall, so the hero cannot be completely evil. Also, the hero must have a tragic flaw, a characteristic that, in excess, causes him to bring some disaster upon himself, and because of this, he cannot be completely good either. It is important to note that the root of the term tragic flaw is the Greek word “hamartia”, which is actually better translated as an error in judgement. Often this flaw or error has to do with fate a character tempts fate, thinks he can change fate or doesn't realize what fate has in store for him.
Miller describes "that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were." It is in his belief that the notion will help modern people relate with the main characters in a tragedy that is also applicable to the audience’s understanding a tragic drama. By Miller’s standards Willy is not “flawless” by his actions, but rather the error in his conscience that makes him a tragic hero. Miller’s ideal tragic hero "demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity," (1974, 3) when given a struggle in reality. He states that “ the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing – his sense of personal dignity” (3).
In most dramatic plays, tragedy usually strikes the protagonist of the play and leads him, or her, to experience devastating losses. While tragic instances can be avoided, there are other instances where one’s fate and future is out of the protagonist’s control. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles and first performed around 249 BC, Oedipus cannot escape his destiny and even though he tries to overcome and circumvent prophecy, he finds out that supernatural forces will get what they want in the end. Oedipus meets the criteria of a tragic hero set forth by Aristotle and his fate within the play demonstrates that one does not always have free will in their lives. Traditionally, in Greek drama, tragedy is meant to reaffirm the concept that life is worth living and that people are in constant opposition with the universe.
This interpretation is generally accepted that through experiencing fear vicariously in a controlled situation, the spectators own anxieties are directed outward, and, through sympathetic identification was the protagonist, his insight and outlook are enlarged. Also, as importantly and significantly, Aristotle introduced the term hamartia, the tragic flaw, or an inherent defect or shortcoming in the hero of a tragedy. Aristotle casually described the tragic hero as a man of noble rank and nature whose misfortune is not brought upon him by villainy or corruption, but by some error of judgement. This imperfection later became known, or interpreted as a moral flaw, although most great tragedies defy such a simple distinction of the term. We could say that in many cases of tragedy the hero is never passive, but struggles to resolve his tragic difficulty with an obsessive dedication, that he is guilty of presuming that he is godlike, attempting to surpass his own human limitations.
Oedipus reveals the truth and now the feeling of anxiety is replaced by grief and sorrow. This release of tension causes an overwhelming emotion, a relief of emotion that marks the catharsis. Oedipus the King by Sophocles has the ingredients necessary for a good Aristotelian tragedy. The play has the essential parts that form the plot, consisting of the peripeteia, anagnorisis and a catastrophe; which are all necessary for a good tragedy according to the Aristotelian notion. Oedipus is the perfect tragic protagonist, for his happiness changes to misery due to hamartia (an error).
There are many characteristics that complete Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero; these being the presence of hamartia and peripeteia, a sense of self-awareness, the audience’s pity for the character, and the hero is of noble birth. Aristotle’s definition: The definition of a tragic hero is fairly self-explanatory, however, Aristotle’s definition of the term is the best description. He writes that a tragic hero is a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on tragedy. When referring to the play, Oedipus the King, many people question whether Oedipus should have the title of a tragic hero based on the events that take place in the play. When deciding if this label is true, we must look into some of the significant elements that make up the character of a tragic hero.
Tragedy deals with the element of evil, with what we least want and most fear to face, and with what is destructive to human life and values. It also draws out our ability to sympathize with the tragic character, feeling some of the impact of the evil us. It is difficult for the reader feel pity for Macbeth because he is merely part of the evil force that has always existed in our world and not the poor, forsaken, fate-sunken man, according to Aristotle's idea of tragedy. The reader can sense the power and greed upon which Macbeth thrives, prospers, and finally falls and therefore the reader sees Macbeth as a bad guy, feeling little or no pity for him.