Aristotle's Tragic Hero

  • Created by: Elmo
  • Created on: 08-07-17 23:01

The Tragic Hero as defined by Aristotle

A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgement error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction. In reading Antigone, Medea and Hamlet, look at the role of justice and/or revenge and its influence on each character's choices when analysing any "judgement error."


Aristotle said that "A man doesn't become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall."

An Aristotelian tragic hero must possess specific characteristics, five of which are below:

  • Flaw or error of judgement (hamartia) Note the role of justice and/or revenge in the judgements
  • A reversal of fortune (peripeteia) brought about because of the hero's error of judgement
  • The discovery or recognition that the reversal was brought about by the hero's own actions (anagnorisis)
  • Excessive Pride (hubris)
  • The character's fate must be greater than deserved

Initially, the tragic hero should be neither better or worse morally than normal people in order to allow the…


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