Imagine some of the greatest tragic heroes of all time: Hamlet, Macbeth, Odysseus -- Ones we all know and love. We laughed at their mistakes, cried at their downfalls, and enjoyed their triumphs. And now a new generation wishes to be among them: King Creon (from Sophocles’ Antigone), Marcus Brutus, and Julius Caesar. But, it will not be easy; it will take a lot for them to win over our hearts and be crowned “most tragic hero” of them all.
First, they will have to play the part. What exactly constitutes a tragic hero? According to Aristotle, a tragic hero must be “a man of noble stature who is admired by society but flawed.” Therefore, our most tragic hero must be of noble stature, admired by society, and requires a character flaw. Another account of a tragic hero is “a main character that makes a mistake and ends up defeated.” McGraw Hill’s online learning center gives “A privileged, exalted character of high repute, who by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering” as a definition for a tragic hero. And last, but not least, Quizlet defines a tragic hero as “A character who experiences an inner struggle because of a character flaw; that struggle ends in the defeat of the hero.” With all these definitions, the following conclusion can be made: a tragic hero must: be the main character of the literary work he is in, suffer from an inner struggle, have a character flaw which leads to his demise, be admired by society, and be of noble stature. The winner of this completion must fit all of these categories.
The first category states that the tragic hero must be the main character of the literary work he is in. In Antigone, which features King Creon, his niece, Antigone, is the true protagonist. Though, he is an essential character, and the antagonist, Creon cannot be called the main character. Julius Caesar, in the Shakespearean play that bears his name, is not the main character either. Though it can be argued that everyone in the play is preoccupied with thoughts of him, he only appears in a few scenes. Brutus is the only main character out of the three competitors. He is the best fit for this category.
The second category states that a tragic hero must also suffer from an inner struggle. In Antigone, King Creon struggles with people undermining his authority, particularly Antigone. He does not, however, seem to battle with himself, or with his thoughts. Similarly, Julius Caesar does not appear to have any inner struggle. His thoughts and motives aren’t directly revealed in the play. They are only assumed and revealed by the thoughts and actions of others. Brutus, on the other hand, clearly...