Comparative Character Analysis of Classical vs. Modern Tragic Protagonists.

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 838
  • Published : April 7, 2005
Open Document
Text Preview
Comparative Character Analysis of Classical Vs. Modern Tragic Protagonists. A hero/ heroine is described as the principal male/ female character in a literary or dramatic work or the central figure in an event, period, or movement. The classic tragic hero was defined by Aristotle in the fourth century as, "someone who is highly renowned and prosperous" (LATWP, 639), suggesting that there is a "natural right ordering and proportion of traits within the human being that if violated, produces calamity" (LATWP, 639). The book goes on to define classical tragedy as one that "involves the inevitable destruction of a noble person by means of character flaw, usually a disproportionate measure of a specific human attribute such as pride, jealousy or indecision" (LATWP, 639). On the other hand, another type of tragic hero exists, the modern tragic hero. This type of hero is a product of a clash between the individual and the social environment. Arthur Miller, the famous playwright said, "each person has a chosen image of self and position, tragedy results when the characters environment denies the fulfillment of this self concept." (LATWP, 640). This is a contrast from Aristotle's classic tragic hero because the hero is no longer born into nobility but gains stature in the action of pitting self against cosmos, and the tragedy becomes, "the disaster inherent in being torn away from our chosen image of what and who we are in this world." (LATWP, 640).

In the tragic play named after its equally tragic heroine, Antigone's character unfolds as the perfect example of the classic tragic protagonist character. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus, a former king who left the kingdom in a self imposed exile. Antigone and her sister, Ismene have been left under the care of her uncle, Creon who is now king. In his first official decree, Creon decides that for reasons he sees fit, the body of Antigone's brother Polynices should not be buried but left out, unattended to, for...
tracking img