Tragic Hero Comparison Essay

924 words - 4 pages

Every culture influences its members and there are common characteristics of people in every culture throughout the world. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart are separated by three centuries and yet Macbeth and Okonkwo have the same tragic flaws. Culture has a major influence on the development of tragic flaws, and although the cultures differ, tragic heroes remain constant.
Macbeth’s and Okonkwo's tragic flaws are influenced by their individual cultures. Cultural beliefs in Scotland during the 1600s include supernatural ideas such as witches and how they could predict the future. The third witch says to Banquo and Macbeth "All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!" (1.3.50). When Macbeth is told that he is going to be king of Scotland, he is driven by his vaulting ambition of becoming king and fulfilling the witches prophecy through killing everyone in his way of the crown. In Scotland during the time of Macbeth, heroes were celebrated and a king’s prestige was based on success as a war leader, but Macbeth was not voted into monarchy. Macbeth tells himself, “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other” (1.7.25-28). Macbeth wanted to be king of Scotland and according to the witches he would be, he just had to kill Duncan, for no good reason except for his own self gain and to cover himself of the suspicion that would rise when he seized the throne. Okonkwo who is part of the Ibo culture in the 1950s values strength and prosperity and also fears failure. The Ibo culture thinks of fear as a weakness, but Okonkwo's fear of being thought of as weak led to his demise. When Okonkwo was taken into the forest with Ikemefuna, he was "Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak" (52). Influenced by the culture, Okonkwo’s tragic flaw; fear of weakness leads him to takes the action of killing his foster child which has a lasting affect on his personal beliefs and his attitude towards wanting his daughter, Ezinma to be a boy.
Despite a difference in culture, Macbeth and Okonkwo both emerge as tragic heroes driven by a want to be powerful and a fear of being overpowered. At the beginning of the play we see that Lady Macbeth is the stronger compared to Macbeth when she said,“Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here”(1.5.50). Knowing that she is a woman and that her husband is weak she calls upon the spirits to give her strength to go through with the plan of killing in order to get to the throne by taking away her femininity....

Find Another Essay On tragic hero comparison

Tragic Heroes, Joe and Chris Keller, Portrayed in All My Sons

1215 words - 5 pages A tragic hero can be defined by several different factors; the hero usually has a major flaw that prevents him from seeing the truth that lies in front of him, which contributes to the character’s peripeteia due to mistaken judgement. This mistake then leads to achieving anagnorisis, usually at the end of the play, but is too late to change anything, and results in death. Both Joe and Chris Keller constitute as being tragic characters of

Explain why Willy Loman is or is not a tragic hero

925 words - 4 pages is often suggested that his misfortune pales in comparison to the well known tragic heroes. Arthur Miller considered Willy a tragic hero and as author, his opinions should be taken into account. Willy evokes pity and fear from the audience, and suffers due to his own fatal flaw, or hamartia, which Elia Kazan, the first director of 'Death of a Salesman', believed to be "neuroses and anxiety."Literary critic, Professor Harold Bloom claims that Willy

Tragic Oedipus

1267 words - 6 pages Tragic heroes cause intense empathetic reaction, developing an inevitable story of anguish and triumph. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is such a hero. He has many good, even heroic qualities; however, his deep flaws ultimately cause his undoing and terrible punishment. Although he comes across as a royal being who is basically good, he has flaws that ultimately cannot be controlled and devastate his life. As the readers watch his

Tragic hero characterization i

1582 words - 6 pages "Pity and Awe, reconciliation, exaltation and a sense of emotion purged and purified thereby"1. As this quote from Aristotle's Poetics states, a tragedy must arouse feelings of pity and fear, thus producing a catharsis of these emotions in the audience. In order to arouse the emotions of the audience or reader, writers must produce characters that are known as tragic heroes. A tragic hero is characterized as the hero of a tragedy who is usually

Willy Loman as Tragic Hero of Death of a Salesman

1562 words - 6 pages Willy Loman as Tragic Hero of Death of a Salesman     Willy Loman, the title character of the play, Death of Salesman, exhibits all the characteristics of a modern tragic hero. This essay will support this thesis by drawing on examples from Medea by Euripedes, Poetics by Aristotle, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, while comments by Moss, Gordon, and Nourse reinforce the thesis.             Death of Salesman

Discusses the characteristics of the Ancient Hero, defines the specific features of the epic genre

1180 words - 5 pages encounters Hercules in the Underworld. Hercules tells Odysseus that the two of them are very similar. Since Hercules was portrayed as the greatest Greek hero in Greek mythology, any comparison to him would imply heroic characteristics. The similarities implied between Odysseus and Hercules added to the fact that he accomplishes a trip to Hades and returned alive back to Earth must prove Odysseus was exceptionally heroic.Odysseus was an "ideal hero", but

"The crucible" by Arthur Miller. Act 4 analysis. "What is your final impression of Proctor?"

1804 words - 7 pages . However, John Proctor is a tragic hero, who until that point in the play has carried with him a horrid sin, which coupled with his morality led to his downfall. The final impression of Proctor is an inherently conflicting image. On one hand he is seen as a hero, because he sacrificed his life selflessly, and on the other hand, a sinner, because he committed a moral crime.One reason why Proctor may be considered a hero is because he shows the common

Othello: Characters Bring About Their Own Demise

1138 words - 5 pages As in almost all tragedies, especially those of William Shakespeare, the tragic hero always runs into misfortune. The play Othello is no exception. In this play, every character acquainted with the tragic hero appears to be unfortunate. While these misfortunes are oddly related to Othello, are they his fault or did each character attract them out of their own actions? To answer this daunting question, one must consider the three most unfortunate

Analysis of Prince Hamlet's Character in William Shakespeare's Play

1854 words - 7 pages Analysis of Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Play Shakespeare's Hamlet is at the outset a typical revenge play. However, it is possible to see Prince Hamlet as a more complex character as he can be seen as various combinations of a weak revenger, a tragic hero and a political misfit. In order to fully understand the world in which Hamlet finds himself, it is necessary to examine all three of these roles and either

Othelo, A Dramatic Tragedy by William Shakespeare

1285 words - 5 pages would qualify as a tragedy as discussed through thought, diction, tragic hero, and emotional action. Beginning with the definition, “A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;... in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.” Both the definition and

Describe Commodus, (from movie Gladiator)motivation for growth and change through conflict

867 words - 3 pages change his ways. He does change, he becomes worse. It is crucial to his role as the antagonist that he does not learn from his mistakes; otherwise; he would shift to being a protagonist. The tragic hero is one who faces much adversity; but after a journey of discovery finds redemption; and usually death. The negative growth of Commodus is essential to the plot line of Gladiator. Commodus offers a comparison by which Maximus can be measured; and the

Similar Essays

A Tragic Hero Comparison Between Rex Warner's "Prometheus" And Sophocles' "Antigone"

874 words - 3 pages evidently more tragic than Prometheus. This is due to the extent of his punishment, the distressing emotional retribution he endures, and his plunge from prosperity to adversity.Creon is considered a more tragic character due to the magnitude of his punishment. Of course, Prometheus’s actions have had their implications as well. For instance, Prometheus was to be bound by unbreakable chains to the highest peak of Caucasus. “The task of

Conventions Of A Shakespeare Tragedy Essay

1563 words - 6 pages Every Shakespeare tragedy follows the same conventions. Some of the conventions are tragic hero with a tragic flaw, anti-hero, tragic fall, fate, and supernatural. A convention is something in Shakespeare that has a certain effect. The tragic hero always has a tragic flaw. A tragic hero cannot be a hero unless he has a tragic flaw. The tragic flaw brings the downfall of the hero. Othello is the tragic hero, because Othello is a character of

Comparing The Tragic Heroes In Medea By Euripides

1714 words - 7 pages characters of the play and the plan unfolds into their lives, as well as how the two characters of Jason and Medea turn out to be tragic heroes. (Williamson, 1990) Before going into the comparison of the two tragic heroes of Jason and Medea, it is important to understand what the term tragic hero actually implies. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero in any play is basically a character or an individual who has a noble character and displays levels of

Aristotelian Tragedy: Clytemnestra’s Tragic Role In The Oresteia

1589 words - 6 pages Aristotelian Tragedy:Clytemnestra's Tragic Role in The OresteiaIn Poetics, Aristotle describes a tragic hero as one of noble birth and as more admirable than ordinary men. The hero, however, cannot be morally perfect; for the best plots arise when the hero's downfall is the inevitable consequence of some defect in character. The spectacle of a good man dragged to destruction by a single error evokes feeling of pity and fear in the audience. The