Ran Tragedy

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Hidetora: Tragic Hero
Susan Young
Period 1
5/4/12

Tragedies have entertained people for centuries. They give people a reason to feel better about themselves, seeing that they could be a lot worse off like the characters in tragedies. They are also different than the clichéd “Hollywood ending” which is so commonly used. They show us that life doesn’t always go the way that we want it to, and to be prepared for the worst. Kurosawa’s Ran, brings the story of King Lear in to a more modern era, exploring how Hidetora’s decision to abdicate eventually leads to total chaos. Hidetora believes that passing his power to his sons is the best decision he could make, but throughout their whole life, they have been weaned on chaos, and it’s the only thing that seems natural to them. His mistake leads to his and two of his sons’ deaths, and the destruction of Third Castle, which he had conquered when he was younger.

In this film, Hidetora is the tragic hero. As with all tragic heroes, his tragic flaw is something that he can’t control and leads to his downfall. He doesn’t want to accept reality, which is part of the reason why he goes crazy later in the movie. He wants to be treated like a king, but he doesn’t want the responsibilities of being a king, so he dumps the responsibility on his three sons. His third son, Saburo, advises against this, but his tragic flaw prevents Hidetora from seeing the eventual outcome of his decision. He also wants to be able to control things still, but having passed on his power prohibits him from doing so. His dream of wandering alone in a field, calling to someone who isn’t there, makes him paranoid that his sons will turn against him, which is also a reason why he is so angered by Taro’s, what he sees to be insolent, behavior. His tragic mistake was passing down his power to his three sons, even though he had to do it eventually. Combined with his tragic flaw, his two eldest sons think that they have to get rid of him because he is a...
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