2 Tragic Hero Background A tragic hero is often used in Shakespearean literature.This model of a hero may not always be a “good guy”.The tragic hero has made its way into more contemporary literature because audiences can relate to them.A tragic hero follows a twelve step pattern.
3 What Defines Shakespearean Tragedy? A Tragic Hero The Tragic Flaw-HamartiaReversal of FortuneCatharsisRestoration of Social Order –Denouement
4 Tragic Hero TraitsThe tragic hero is someone we, as an audience, look up to—someone superior.The tragic hero is nearly perfect, and we identify with him/herThe hero has one flaw or weaknessWe call this the ‘tragic flaw’, ‘fatal flaw’, or hamartia
5 Reversal of Fortune The ‘fatal flaw’ brings the hero down from his/her elevated state.Renaissance audiences were familiar with the ‘wheel of fortune’ or ‘fickle fate’.What goes up, must come down.
6 Catharsis We get the word ‘catharsis’ from Aristotle’s katharsis. ‘Catharsis’ is the audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear.The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.This is why we cry during movies!
7 Restoration of Social Order Tragedies include a private and a public elementThe play cannot end until society is, once again, at peace.This is why the Tragic Hero often dies!
8 Tragic Hero Pattern Step 1 – A protagonist of high estate Step 2 – A tragic flaw in character Step 3 – Intrusion of time, sense or urgency Step 4 – Misreading/RationalizationsStep 5 – Murder, exile, alienation of enemies and alliesStep 6 – Gradual isolation of Tragic Hero
9 Tragic Hero Pattern Step 7 – Mobilization of opposition Step 8 – Recognition of tragic flaw, too lateStep 9 – Last courageous attempt to restore greatness. Step 10 – Audience recognizes potential for greatness. Step 11 – Death of tragic hero.Step 12 – Restoration of order.