Ethan Frome Tragic Flaw

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Ethan Frome Essay

In many books, a hero has a major flaw, which contributes to his downfall in the story. In the book Ethan Frome, the main character, Ethan, encounters a tragedy and is brought to ruin and suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of tragic flaw. Tragic flaw is a flaw in character that brings about the downfall of the hero of a tragedy. Ethan lacks the qualities that would help him take control of his life because he lets others boss him around and he gives in to any pressures he is faced with. However, his insecure self got him stuck in the midst of bad situations with no ways out, making him doomed to make the wrong decisions. Ethan first bad decision was moving to Starkfield in the first place. Even though he couldn’t possibly know what was in store for him, Ethan made a dreadful decision because he moved to Starkfield under his power, and could have left just as willingly at the right time if he knew how to handle himself. Instead, Ethan stayed in Starkfield, married Zeena, and things just went downward from then on. Ethan’s decision to stay in Starkfield eventually made him a victim of the circumstances because he had no one that he could actually relate to, forcing him in the middle of a miserable situation.

A characteristic of a tragic hero that applies to Ethan is that he must fall from great heights or high esteem. During chapter 7, we learn that Ethan is a physically strong man, but he lacks force of personality. Zeena had just announced that she wanted Mattie out of the house, and Ethan’s relationship with Zeena now seems to be inevitable. “She had taken everything else from him; and now she meant to take the one thing that made up for all the others. For a moment such a flame of hate rose in him that it ran down his arm and clenched his fist against her. He took a wild step forward and then stopped.” (Chap 7. Pg. 95) In this quote, the narrator is talking about how Ethan controls himself in...
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