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So… what is a Tragic Hero anyway?

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Presentation on theme: "So… what is a Tragic Hero anyway?"— Presentation transcript:

1 So… what is a Tragic Hero anyway?
Born of noble birth Fatal flaw – personality and/or judgment Fate controlled by fatal flaw Must suffer more than he/she deserves Must be doomed from the start, but bears no responsibility for possessing flaw Noble in nature but imperfect (human) Must have discovered fate by own actions Story should arouse fear and empathy (could happen to someone Must be physically/spiritually wounded by experiences, often resulting in death

2 Tragic Hero Background
“A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.” Aristotle The tragic hero is a man of noble stature. He is not an ordinary man, but a man with outstanding quality and greatness about him. His own destruction is for a greater cause or principle.

3 Characteristics of a Tragic Hero

4 1. Noble Background Often (but not always) a member of a royal family, or a higher social class Someone that normal people would “look up to” or admire – has outstanding qualities

5 2. Imperfect or “human” despite noble nature
Has outstanding quality or greatness, but audience must identify with him Without imperfections, downfall would seem unlikely

6 3. Possesses a Fatal Flaw Also called the Hamartia
Traditional fatal flaw is hubris, or excessive pride but there can be many others Flaw ultimately leads to hero’s downfall, often death

7 4. The hero's downfall is partially her/his own fault
Downfall is a result of free will/choice, NOT villainy or accident We don’t blame the character for the fatal flaw, only the decisions made or actions that result from the flaw.

8 5. Punishment exceeds the crime
May be injured, or may suffer losses of family or fortune Wounds are not entirely deserved

9 6. The fall is not pure loss…
Downfall or death is usually seen as a waste of human potential Suffering always has greater meaning Greater lesson learned

10 Example: John Proctor Noble Background Imperfect Fatal Flaw
Causes own downfall Suffers greatly Gains new knowledge

11 Noble Background John Proctor is a farmer. He is handsome and well regarded in his community. He is not wealthy or noble but honest and respected by his neighbors.

12 Imperfect John Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams when she was the Proctors’ house servant. Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, discovered this affair. Proctor sincerely works to improve his icy relationship with his wife, Elizabeth, but she senses that he is still in love with Abigail.

13 Fatal Flaw Lechery Pride
Does not want the community to know of his sin Believes he can handle Abigail

14 Causes own downfall Proctor believes he can keep his lecherous past with Abigail a secret from the community and still save Elizabeth who has been accused of witchcraft by Abigail. He drags Mary Warren to court and she winds up accusing him.

15 Suffers greatly Proctor is condemned to hang. He is tortured physically and spiritually. For example: The morning of his hanging, Abigail bribes the jailor to let her see Proctor. She has arranged for them to run away together to Boston where they can begin a new life together. Abigail tells him that she has forgiven him for calling her out. Proctor gives no answer and Abigail flees

16 Gains new knowledge Proctor understands that he has brought a catastrophe to his entire community because of his actions.

17 Essay Topic Choose one of three characters from The Killer Angels: Joshua Chamberlain, James Longstreet, or Robert E. Lee. Then write a thorough and convincing essay proving that he is a “tragic hero.” In order to receive full credit, your essay should address at least three of the criteria that must be met in order for a character to be considered a tragic hero. Specific examples from the novel must be used to support your ideas.

18 Your essay must have… A well written intro and conclusion
A clear thesis statement An in-depth analysis based on three criteria Creative and convincing arguments Specific and pertinent examples from the novel to prove your ideas. Direct quotes or paraphrases along with page numbers

19 Introduction Basic structure:
Background sentence (“The Battle of Gettysburg…”) (“Robert E. Lee was…”) Thesis statement … so what statement? Road map Sentences outlining the main ideas of your body paragraphs

20 Writing the Perfect Thesis: An Equation
SPECIFIC ASSERTION (creates an entry point for your readers; the “so what?”) LITERARY DEVICE (used to focus your essay so it is not too broad) TITLE OF THE TEXT (properly underlined if it is a novel) + + = The perfect thesis! It does not matter what order these elements go in, as long as they are included

21 Conclusion Basic structure for your conclusion
Restate or rephrase your thesis Summarize (but don’t explain) your main ideas Summarize your final thoughts DO NOT end with “This was my essay and I hope you enjoyed it…” or any similar phrase. It is too casual for formal writing.

22 Pop Culture Quest Groups of no more than 3
You may use ONE of the examples I have provided Due at the end of the class period

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