The Tragic Hero

Topics: Tragedy, Character, Euripides Pages: 2 (748 words) Published: February 18, 2013
The Tragic Hero
The tragic hero is one who experiences an inner struggle because of some flaw within his character. That struggle results in the fall of the hero. Aristotle defines the tragic hero in his work titled Poetics, which expands upon the definition of a tragic hero. The short story “Medea,” written by Euripides, and the play “Hamlet,” written by Shakespeare, both present the reader with a tragic hero. “Medea” is the ideal story in which one can see the tragic hero, and this can be contrasted to “Hamlet” in order to see how Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero in Poetics presented. According to Poetics, the tragic hero in “Medea” is Jason and the tragic hero in “Hamlet” is Hamlet. Aristotle’s Poetics explains the tragic hero by describing him/her with certain characteristics. The tragic hero can be seen as a form of pathos , so the better of the two stories would be the one which a larger audience can relate to.

One of the characteristics stated by Aristotle to define a tragic hero is that he is of high stature in his/her society and is also respectful of his status. “Since the objects of imitation are men in action, and these men must be either of a higher or a lower type…Tragedy as better than in actual life.” (Aristotle 52). This can be seen in “Medea” where Jason is married to the princess and is set to become prince. “Their fine love's grown sick, diseased, for Jason, leaving his own children and my mistress, is lying on a royal wedding bed. He's married the daughter of king Creon.” (Euripides). Jason is seen as a high class member of society, and being married to the princess makes him nobility. This can be compared with “Hamlet,” where the main character Hamlet is also a prince and therefore comes from nobility. “He's loved of the distracted multitude, Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;” (Shakespeare). Hamlet was not only a high class member of society, but he was popular among the people. Although the similarity of nobility...
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