The Tragic Hero in Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" Essay

The Tragic Hero in Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is "a tragic hero.” This is according to Aristotle’s definition, a tragic hero is a character “who is neither completely good nor completely bad, but also a member of royalty.” Romeo is a tragic hero because he does many good things, but many bad things, as well. For example, he is a Montague and he marries Juliet, who is a Capulet. This is prohibited, so Romeo is bad. However, Romeo does everything he can to keep Juliet happy and risks his life for her, which makes him good. Romeo is also a man of royalty because he is Montague’s son. Romeo’s character has many contradictions, which makes the audience think, “is he good or bad?” Asking these questions and not knowing the answer leads us to believe that Romeo is a tragic hero, according to Aristotle’s definition.
Romeo is a good character for many reasons. First, he is very romantic to the woman he loves. Romeo treats Juliet with care, respect, and kindness, making him a good husband. He compliments her beauty repeatedly throughout the play. For example, in Act 1 Scene 5 line-41-42 Romeo says to Juliet, “Which lady is that, which doth enrich her hand/ Of yonder knight?” He is struck by how beautiful she is and he wishes to touch her and be enriched with her beauty. Also, in Act 2 Scene 2 lines 4-6, Romeo speaks to Juliet from her garden. He tells her that she is impossibly beautiful by saying, “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, / Who is already sick and pale with grief, / That thou her maid art far more fair than she.” This proves Romeo to be good because it shows how much he cares about her and the way he treats her makes her feel good about herself. This is important because it builds up her confidence...

... middle of paper ... families. He even knows that love between the two families is forbidden, but he is disloyal to his entire family by pursuing the love of their enemy. Also, no one knows about his secret love except Juliet, Friar Lawrence, and the Nurse. Therefore, he is lying to his family as well as disobeying them. These numerous things make Romeo a bad character in the play.
Romeo is seen as a tragic hero because of the many examples of his good and bad character. This follows Aristotle’s definition because it proves him to be a character that is neither completely good nor completely bad. Romeo loves Juliet with kindness and generosity, but to love her is forbidden. Also, he tries to prevent a second fight between the two families in the streets of Verona, but later kills Tybalt, his love’s cousin. These things make Romeo both good and bad, therefore a tragic hero.

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