Essay on The Tragic Hero Of The Iliad, Beowulf And Hamlet

Essay on The Tragic Hero Of The Iliad, Beowulf And Hamlet

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According to, a tragic hero defines as “a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat” ("tragic hero"). A tragic hero, according to Aristotle, defines as “a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction” (Littrell, Mary). During this past year, I have learned about what it takes to be a tragic hero. I have also learned what it takes to be a hero period. Being a hero, to me, means one’s ability to be willing to die for what they believe in. The Iliad, Beowulf and Hamlet have all shown heroes dying for what they believe in. Achilles, Hector, Beowulf, and Hamlet are all tragic heroes because they all are of noble birth, are great warriors, travel over a vast setting, and face supernatural foes and/or receives supernatural help.
Achilles, Hector, Beowulf, and Hamlet all are of noble birth. Achilles, born from Thetis, a sea nymph, and Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons, makes Achilles a prince and also a demigod. Along with Achilles being the son of a king and queen, Hector also owns the title of being a prince. Hector, born from Queen Hecuba and King Priam of Troy, would have had the title of king after his father’s death; however, Hector had been killed before he could gain the title. Although Hector has the title as directly a noble descent, making him a prince, Beowulf lacks that direct title in the beginning of the story. Beowulf, being a cousin of Higlac, who reigns as king of the Geats, makes Beowulf of noble descent. Like Beowulf, Hamlet also has the birth of royal descent. Hamlet, born from Queen Gertrude and King Hamlet of Denmark, makes him a prince as well. Although all of these men ...

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... Hector, Beowulf, and Hamlet all tragic heroes. Each tragic hero had been the reason for their own downfall. Although Achilles did not die in the Iliad, his pride, in the end, doomed him the to lose Patroclus. Hector’s refusal to be a coward and go inside the wall of Troy ended as his downfall. Beowulf’s greed for riches ended up being his downfall: Beowulf wanted the riches that the fire dragon protected and being as old as he had been, when his followers left him, made him unable to succeed. Hamlet’s downfall occurred when he decided to think instead of act: Hamlet thought about his revenge on King Claudius instead of actually doing anything about it. These stories taught us that our biggest enemy will be ourselves. I predict that if our society would stop being prideful, cowardly, greedy, and not acting upon thinking, we would live in a much better society.

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