Aristotle Tragic Hero

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					C-Notes: Aristotle's Tragic
How to Identify a Tragic Hero
           Tragic Hero

• Aristotle's ideas about tragedy were
  recorded in his book titled Poetics
• There are 6 character traits of a
  Tragic Hero
             Tragic Hero: Trait 1
•   T.H. is a character of noble stature and
    has greatness
    – The character must occupy a "high" status
      position (king or princess)
    – ALSO embody nobility and virtue as part of
      his/her innate character
      •   nobility (noun): high ideals or excellent moral
      •   virtue (noun): the quality of being morally good
          or righteous
         Tragic Hero: Trait 2

• Though T.H. is highly distinguished
   or great, he/she is not perfect
  – Make the character relatable to
     the everyday man and woman
  – People can identify with the tragic
  – Seen as someone who is
     essentially like us
              Tragic Hero: Trait 3
•    The T.H. downfall is partially her/his own fault
    – the result of free choice, not of accident or
        villainy or some overriding, malignant fate
•    The tragedy usually triggered by some error of
     judgment or some character flaw that contributes
     to the T.H.’s lack of perfection
    – This character flaw is known as the "tragic flaw"
•    Often the character's "tragic flaw" involves hubris
    –   Hubris (noun): the excessive pride and ambition that
        usually leads to the downfall of a hero in classical
       Tragic Hero: Trait 4

• The T.H.’s misfortunate is not
  wholly deserved
• The punishment exceeds the
        Tragic Hero: Trait 5
• The fall is not pure loss
• There is some:
  – increase in awareness
  – gain in self-knowledge
  – discovery on the part of the tragic
         Tragic Hero: Trait 6
• Tragic plays rouse sad emotion, but do
  not leave audience in a state of
• one function of tragedy-to arouse the
  "unhealthy" emotions of pity and fear
• through a catharsis (emotional release
  which comes from watching the tragic
  hero's terrible fate) cleanse us of those
        Tragic Flaw: Trait 6
• Greek drama not considered pure
  "entertainment" it had a communal
  function--to contribute to the good
  health of the community
   –This is why dramatic performances
    were a part of religious festivals and
    community celebrations.
        Complete C-Notes

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