Imagine some of the greatest tragic heroes of all time: Hamlet, Macbeth, Odysseus… Ones we all know and love. We laughed at their mistakes, cried at their downfalls, and enjoyed their triumphs. And now a new generation wishes to be among them: King Creon (from Sophocles’ Antigone), Marcus Brutus, and Julius Caesar. But, it won’t be easy; it will take a lot for them to win over our hearts and be crowned “most tragic hero” of them all.
First, they will have to play the part. What exactly constitutes a tragic hero? According to Aristotle, a tragic hero must be “a man of noble stature who is admired by society but flawed.” Therefore, our most tragic hero must be of noble stature, admired by society, and requires a character flaw. Another account of a tragic hero is “a main character that makes a mistake and ends up defeated.” McGraw Hill’s online learning center gives “A privileged, exalted character of high repute, who by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering” as a definition for a tragic hero. And last, but not least, Quizlet defines a tragic hero as “A character who experiences an inner struggle because of a character flaw; that struggle ends in the defeat of the hero.” With all these definitions, the following conclusion can be made: a tragic hero must: be the main character of the literary work he is in, suffer from an inner struggle, have a character flaw which leads to his demise, be admired by society, and be of noble stature. The winner of this completion must fit all of these categories.
The first category states that the tragic hero must be the main character of the literary work he is in. In Antigone, which features King Creon, his niece, Antigone, is the true protagonist. Though...
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...s his rage, or disapproves of his obstinacy. Caesar appears to be admired by his subjects who “make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph. (I.i.30-31)” Though as the play continues, it is obvious that he is secretly hated. His peers regard him as ambitious and a plebian states “…Caesar was a tyrant (III.ii.68)” after his death. Citizens of Rome do not respect him as much as they do Brutus. Casca tells Cassius about how much their society loves Brutus when he says “Oh, he sits high in all the people’s hearts (I.iii.159)” Even Antony, his enemy, refers to Brutus as “the noblest Roman of them all. (V.v.68)” He is evidently admired the most by society.
Marcus Brutus is the only main character, the most self-conflicted, the most admired by society, and above all, the most tragic hero. He fits all the categories of what constitutes a tragic hero so well.
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