The Fall Of Troy’s Fences Essay

726 words - 3 pages

Weaving together allusions to Greek mythology and the American baseball legends, August Wilson in his play Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, the tragic hero who falls victim to his misconceptions of his world. Tenaciously holding on to his experience of racism and hardship in the 1950s, Troy does not realize the present world around him has changed. As a result, Troy tries to protect his son Cory from following his footsteps, but Cory tries to break free of his father’s authority. However, by creating this metaphorical fence to protect Cory, Troy also prevents Cory from reaching his true potential. Indeed, through metaphors and allusions, August Wilson portrays Troy Maxson as the tragic hero unable to recognize the changing African American culture around him.
Troy is characterized as a mythical, tragic hero whose failure to accept the new world around him leads to his downfall. Troy’s name is an allusion to the city of Troy whose high walls fall, just as the character Troy falls because of the fences he builds. Furthermore, Troy’s personal background alludes to the myth of Oedipus. Just as Oedipus accidentally kills his father and blinds himself after a series of misfortunes, Troy “picked up them reins and commenced to whupping on him” but ends up with “both eyes swollen shut” (52). The allusion suggests that Troy chooses his own course of action based on his own delusions, ignoring the warning signs around him. Troy also sees himself highly with the heroism of a mythical figure. He claims to have wrestled with Death and says, “Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner” (10). Troy’s hyperbolic claim shows both his hubris and his role as the tragic hero. Troy sees himself as a mythical hero who can beat death. However, Troy’s hyperbolic claim foreshadows his inevitable fall into the role of the tragic hero when he inevitably discovers the impossibility of beating death. In addition, the “fastball” metaphor suggests that Troy continues to approach life the same way he has in the past, suggesting that Troy is trapped in his past. In...

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