The Tragic Fate of Greek Heroes Essay

The Tragic Fate of Greek Heroes Essay

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The Tragic Fate of Greek Heroes


The hero stands as an archetype of who we should be and who we wish to be. However, the hero has inherent flaws, which we do not wish to strive towards. In literature, these flaws are not used as examples of what we should be but rather as examples of what not to be. This is especially dominant in the Greek hero. The Greek hero battles fate with excessive pride and intelligence, yet follows his fate, making serious mistakes. The Greek hero is strong and mighty while his wit and intelligence are highly valued. In Greek tragedy, the hero struggles to avoid many flaws. Among these flaws are ambition, foolishness, stubbornness, and hubris, the excessive component of pride. He must overcome his predestined fate, which is futile to do. From the beginning of the tale, it is already clear that the hero will ultimately fail with the only way out being death. In Oedipus, the hero is confronted with a load of information about his family and gouges his eyes out. He tried to outwit his fate he had already lost and was sentenced to death. In Antigone, her act resulted in her death, but she had the consolation that the deities agreed with her.
The Greek hero is so normal, that you can relate to him. He is usually a common human being with no extraordinary life. His story seems believable, even possible. We would have no hard time imagining the hero's conflict as being ours. As in the case with Oedipus, you can understand how he feels it would be possible for his circumstances to be applied to our lives. Although the details may seem a little farfetched, it is not impossible that there is some truth to the story. Where Oedipus was strong and perhaps blind to many truths, Antigone was a fighter wh...


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...n or without the mind. The conflict reaches its tragic issue when the individual perishes. The tragic issue, the defeat of the individual, leads to the realization that human presumption to determine one's destiny is necessarily ruinous. Greek tragedy, then, deals with the most fundamental issue that exists at all: man's relationship to the gods. The underlying question of all these dramas concerns the laws and standards by which the gods let man live. It is the paradox of tragedy that it will never yield any definite answers. The only result in each drama is one's awareness of the unreliability and deceptiveness of human reason, the realization that the true shape of things cannot always be judged by their surface appearance, the
experience that man's view and insight can be clouded over by daemonic forces: in short, the experience of the nothingness of man.

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