The Tragic Hero's Flaw Essay

1294 words - 5 pages

The Tragic Hero's Flaw According to Aristotle, characters in a tragedy must have a tragic mistake, or "hamartia," associated with them to be considered the tragic hero. Erlich states in the Packet, "in a well-constructed tragedy major characters' "˜fates' should be related to their character: who they are. Very often this will mean some failing, some flaw" (129). Central to this theory is the classical Greek tragedy Oedipus The King by Sophocles. The tragic hero is Oedipus, whose tragic flaw is intense stubbornness, which causes his world to crash down on top of him in the end.Oedipus comes to Thebes to hide from a disastrous and incestuous fate proclaimed to him and is made king, having answered the riddle of the sphinx, thereby proving his great wisdom. When he learns of the late kings unavenged murder as the cause of a plague on his people, Oedipus vows to bring justice and find the killer. What he does not know is that he is the killer, and he is warned several times to let the matter rest, and walk away while he still can. Teiresias the blind prophet begs him, "Send me away I tell you! Then it will be easy for you to play the king, and I the priest" (196).Yet he pays no heed to these warnings, and threatens the prophet, because he is stubborn and has vowed to know the truth. "Teiresias! You do not turn away if you know the truth"¦I see now that you conspired to plan this murder, and you committed it"¦" (197).The brother of Oedipus, Creon, later warns him of his willful mind. "You are stubborn, Oedipus, your will is too hard; it is nothing to treasure, and you are wrong to think it is" (204). Again these warnings are ignored, along with the warnings of his wife and a shepherd who knows the truth.Because Oedipus cannot rest without learning the truth, he is finally presented with it. As soon as he is, he punishes himself by tearing out his eyes that have seen the truth and banishes himself from the city he corrupted. This isolation and loss of his high place in society make him the tragic hero of the story, along with his tragic flaw: stubbornness and strong will.Aristotle's idea of the tragic flaw, best exemplified in Oedipus, is represented in other works as well. The Duchess of Malfi, Tamburlaine, and Dr. Faustus are all central characters in tragedies, and each has his/her own tragic flaw, which makes him/her a tragic hero.The Duchess of Malfi, for whom the tragedy is named, is the tragic heroine. Recently widowed, she wants nothing more than to marry again, and this time to a man who is far below her in status, her stewart Antonio. According to her two brothers, Cardinal and Ferdinand, these two facts compromise her double "crime." Her flaw is indeed her love for Antonio and her tenacity towards her brothers, who she seems to be spiting by marrying someone of lower class. She raises Antonio, her love, up when he kneels to her, saying, "Sir, this goodly roof of yours is too low built; I cannot stand upright in "˜t...

Find Another Essay On The Tragic Hero's Flaw

THE TRAGIC FLAW OF OEDIPUS The tragic flaw of Oedipus that caused him suffering all his life. This is about the book Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

916 words - 4 pages , Oedipus, as a good- natured person who has bad judgment and is frail. Oedipus makes fatal decisions and is condemned to profound suffering because of them. Agreeing with Aristotle that Oedipus' misfortune happens because of his tragic flaw. If he hadn't been so judgmental or narcissistic, as Miller would characterize a personality like Oedipus, he would never have killed King Laius and called Teiresias a liar. In the beginning, Teiresias is

The Tragic Flaw Of Shakespeare's "King Lear" Includes excerpts from the dialogue

3789 words - 15 pages depicts the troubled parts in his life and eventually his death that is caused by the suffering and calamity. There is the feeling of fear in the play as well, that makes men see how blind they are not knowing when fortune or something else would be on them. The hero must be of a high status on the chain and the hero also possesses a tragic flaw that initiates the tragedy. The fall of the hero is not felt by him alone but creates a chain reaction

Shakespeare's Macbeth - Lady Macbeth and the Tragic Flaw Are to Blame

840 words - 3 pages Lady Macbeth and the Tragic Flaw Are to Blame       "...Go pronounce his present death,/ And with his former title greet Macbeth."  (Act 1, Scene 2, 64-65)     Though the word "death" in this sentence refers to the former thane of Cawdor's demise, Shakespeare uses the clever trick of foreshadowing Macbeth's downfall by coupling the word "death" with the word "Macbeth" so early in the tragedy.  The quote has another importance  it

Hamlet’s Tragic Flaw         In the play Hamlet (1307-1407) by William

1211 words - 5 pages Hamlet's Tragic Flaw In the play Hamlet (1307-1407) by William Shakespeare, a young prince named Hamlet is forced to deal with many things: his father, King Hamlet has died and his mother, Gertrude, has quickly remarried. She is now married to King Hamlet's brother Claudius. Claudius also replaces King Hamlet as King of Denmark. So now prince Hamlet must deal with his father's death, his mothers "o'erhasty marriage" (2.2.57), and the

Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

1918 words - 8 pages Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller concerns itself with the fall of a simple man perpetually in a steadfast state regarding his own failure in a success-driven society. The protagonist of the play, Willy Loman, will follow a tragic trajectory that will eventually lead to his suicide. Arthur

Discuss Macbeth as a tragic hero - his strengths, his weaknesses, his tragic flaw and the effect of outside influences on his nature

704 words - 3 pages Discuss Macbeth as a tragic hero - his strengths, his weaknesses, his tragic flaw and the effect of outside influences on his nature.The contributions of Macbeth towards his fate in becoming the 'tragic hero' is evident from the first act. Like other of Shakespearean plays, the tragic hero, Macbeth, is noble, honourable and highly respected by the general public at the start of the play. Unfortunately Macbeth contributes to his own fate more

A comparison essay between Shakespeare's,Hamlet, and Arthur Miller's, Death of a Salesman, on the issue of tragedy

2216 words - 9 pages appeal to audiences today. This is demonstrated through the tragic hero, the hero's tragic flaw, and the catharsis. With these three elements included, a more exact definition of tragedy is defined by Aristotle as, '...the imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play...through pity and fear

The Tragedy of Hamlet

860 words - 3 pages was able to think up the idea of fakinginsanity, in order to get more information about Claudius.But Hamlet like all other tragic hero's had a flaw. Hecouldn't get around to doing anything, because he couldn'tmove on. He was a full grown adult, yet he still attendedschool in England, because he couldn't move on. Also, ittook him a long time to stop grieving about his father,because he didn't want to move past that part of his life.And after he

A Romantic Tragic Hero's Fatal Pride at War

1195 words - 5 pages "A Romantic Tragic Hero's Fatal Pride at War"Chelsea WasermanEnglish ENG2DMs. MarcuFebruary 9th 2014A tragic hero, whom Aristotle describes as being "true to the self", is a figure similar to a strictly romantic one, as both characters are incapable of conformity. A tragic hero's journey commences in grandeur and concludes in self-destruction due to a tragic flaw, which is most commonly excessive pride. When followed to the extreme, the romantic

A Review of Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes

3981 words - 16 pages virtue of birth).2.Hamartia (translated as "tragic flaw", somewhat related to hubris, but denoting excess in behavior or mistakes).3.A reversal of fortune (peripetia) brought about because of the hero's own tragic error.4.The discovery or recognition that the reversal was brought about as a result of his own actions (anagnorisis).It is not until the late 1500s that Shakespeare began to utilize Aristotle's observations in the production of his many

Oedipus the King

635 words - 3 pages Oedipus' Hamartia Aristotle once said that a hero's downfall must be a result of some tragic flaw within the character. This flaw was known as hamartia in the Greek world of Aristotle. Since Aristotle greatly admired Oedipus the King, many people believe that Oedipus must have had a prominent and complex hamartia. Discovering Oedipus' hamartia within the play is not an easy task. In fact, it is impossible to point out Oedipus' hamartia since I

Similar Essays

Antigone The Tragic Flaw Essay

2277 words - 9 pages Antigone - The Tragic Flaw                 Antigone, Sophocles’ classical Greek tragedy, presents tragic flaw as the cause of the destruction of Creon, the king of Thebes. This essay examines that flaw and the critical perspective on it.   Robert D. Murray, Jr. in “Thought and Structure in Sophoclean Tragedy” gives the perspective of the Greek audience, and thereby the reason why there has to be a tragic flaw in Sophoclean tragedy

The Tragic Flaw Of Hamlet Essay

1069 words - 4 pages The Tragic Flaw of Hamlet One of the greatest works in literature, Shakespeare's Hamlet has been the topic of controversial discussion ever since it was written. The controversies range from "Is Hamlet truly mad, to Is Hamlet really in love with Ophelia." The most intriguing topic of discussion though, is Hamlet's fatal flaw. As in all Shakespearean works, there is always a tragic hero. This hero is always the person that the audience

Tragic Flaw Of The Riddle Solver: Oedipus Rex(By Sophocles)

897 words - 4 pages Aristotle defined Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles as the perfect tragedy. One of the elements in his definition of tragedy included tragic flaw (hamartia), and he said a tragic hero's downfall should be due to his/her tragic flaw. King Oedipus falls from a high status from being a powerful noble king in to a low status by blinding himself and committing a moral sin of killing his father, marrying his mother, and producing an offspring with

Oedipus The King's Tragic Flaw In "Odeipus Rex" By Sophocles

742 words - 3 pages foresaw all of this and made the shepherd save Oedipus as an infant. That is why the shepherd saved Oedipus in the mountains.Oedipus' tragic flaw is his hubris. We can tell he is arrogant when Oedipus says, "As sick as you all may be, not one of you is as sick as I am for each of you." When the prophet Tiresias arrives in Thebes, he is apprehensive to revealing his knowledge to Oedipus. Oedipus however threatens and forces the blind prophet to