Ethan Frome: A Tragic Hero

Topics: Marriage, Love, Family, Mother, Interpersonal relationship, Life / Pages: 4 (852 words) / Published: Jul 25th, 2015
Like many individuals in today's society, Ethan Frome merely wished to achieve his aspirations and pursue lifelong contentment. However, Frome's over ambition created more complication than achievement. Frome possessed many extraordinary qualities such as his intelligence and benevolent nature—albeit he contradicts his moral character and principles. Though his moral character possessed merit and his actions were of good intent, this is what ultimately drove him to a tragic end. As a young adult, Frome postponed his own education in order to tend to his parents until their demise. He then fell in love with his mother’s caregiver, Zeena, who he later felt obliged to marry. Once Zeena became ill, her cousin, Mattie, became her caregiver. Frome …show more content…
Although Frome’s actions seem to contain merit, his vacuity is what causes him to live in constant moral isolation. The author foreshadows Ethan’s fate with an allusion to a grave: “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF ETHAN FROME AND ENDURANCE HIS WIFE…” (Wharton 70). This depicts Frome’s tragic end to a great extent, because he does not die a physical death, but rather a mental demise. Frome’s poor judgement of allowing Mattie to convince him to commit suicide resulted in him being trapped in moral isolation. Furthermore, it resulted in Mattie becoming paralyzed, while Zeena was left to tend to both individuals for the rest of their lives. Frome was left to endure the consequences of his plight. He was also left with a resentful Mattie, who realized that Frome had truly destroyed her. Frome was a “prisoner for life” (Wharton 117) and would continue to be tormented by the constant reminder of his failure and lack of …show more content…
It was ultimately Frome’s moral obligation, over ambition, and lack of discernment that lead to his downfall. He was to be imprisoned by the bleak winter days of Starkfield and forever trapped by his own mental isolation. It is therefore apparent to acknowledge that the fictional protagonist’s basic superiority was marred by flaws, in which defined him as a tragic hero. It was Frome’s rather zealous nature that indeed destroyed his chance for prosperity and lifelong contentment. Because of Frome’s lack of self preservation, the tragic hero was ultimately destroyed by that of which offered him the greatest chance of

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