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The Tragic Hero Archetype
Transcript of The Tragic Hero Archetype
The tragic hero is the protagonist who experiences a large downfall due to personal flaws and external forces (Hartley).
Greek plays are known for having tragic heroes.
The hero has characteristics which make it a tragic one, such as having a fatal flaw (Runyon).
The hero must fulfill certain factors to create a successful tragedy.
Tragic heroes and tragedies are meant to cause emotion (Runyon). History The Tragic Hero Archetype The tragic hero is ancient, and it has been prevalent since the sixth and seventh centuries (Adade-Yeboah, Ahenkora, and Amankwah 10).
The most well-known tragedy is King Oedipus (Adade-Yeboah, Ahenkora, and Amankwah 11).
In the past, the tragic heroes' downfalls were expected and obvious to the audience (Boas 7).
Over time, more suspense has been added to tragedies (Boas 7-8).
The major characteristics of tragic heroes have not altered significantly; for example, tragic heroes are most often of the upper class historically and presently (Boas 11).
One difference is that heroes may accept their downfall in today's works, but before they did not (Boas 17-18). Characteristics of the Tragedy Thinkers such as Aristotle have done extensive research on the qualities of tragedies, and Aristotle explained their key characteristics in his Poetics (Runyon).
Tragedies are based around conveying emotion to the audience (Reeves 178-180), so they focus on acting rather than narration (Hartley).
The audience is supposed to feel a connection to the tragic hero and experience fear or pity (Hartley).
Successful tragedies contain good entertainment and convey a moral message (McCollom 55).
Tragic works have a plot twist, a recognition, and a suffering (Hartley).
The suffering is relative to the downfall. The hero's downfall involves death, new knowledge, or a change in character (Runyon).
The downfall of the tragic hero is not supposed to be depressing to the audience but rather a lesson learned (Runyon).
The tragic hero's downfall is the most vital part of the work because it conveys emotion to the audience and teaches a lesson (Runyon). Characteristics of the Tragic Hero The tragic hero must have traits that fulfill the characteristics of a successful tragedy.
A tragic hero is usually noble and in a position of power, and this shows their greatness while foreshadowing their fall (Runyon).
Tragic heroes are neither morally good nor morally bad (Runyon). Heroes have negative traits such as ignorance or greed which bring their downfall (McCollom 52).
The morally wrong part of the hero will bring about his or her downfall (Runyon), but the literal downfall is caused by an external force (McCollom 53).
Tragic heroes are imperfect so the audience can create a relation with them; if the heroes were perfect and lacked any flaws, the people could not relate to them (Reeves 185). This connection is vital because tragic works are based around emotion (Hartley). Works Cited Asuamah Adade-Yeboah, Kwaku Ahenkora, and Adwoah S. Amankwah. “The Tragic Hero of the Classical Period.” English Language and Literature Studies 2.3 (2012): 10-17. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.
Boas, George. "The Evolution of the Tragic Hero." The Carleton Drama Review 1.1 (1955): 5-21. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.
Hartley, George. "Aristotle & The Elements Of Tragedy: English 250." Aristotle's Tragic Terms. Ohio University, n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2013. <http://www.ohio.edu/people/hartleyg/ref/aristotletragedy.html>.
McCollom, William G. "The Downfall of the Tragic Hero." College English 19.2 (1957): 51-56. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.
Reeves, Charles H. "The Aristotelian Concept of the Tragic Hero." The American Journal of Philology 73.2 (1952): 172-88. JSTOR. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.
Runyon, Carl. "The Nature of Tragedy." The Nature of Tragedy. Owensboro Community and Technical College, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://legacy.owensboro.kctcs.edu/crunyon/e261c/14Renaissance/hamlet/nature_of_tragedy.htm>. Vocabulary hamartia: the hero's flaw or mistake that leads to his downfall (Hartley)
peripeteia: the reversal, or plot twist, where the plot changes direction (Hartley)
anagnorisis: recognition, or the hero's change from ignorance to awareness (Hartley)
pathos: suffering or sympathy the audience feels for the tragic hero (Hartley)
catharsis: the deliverance of emotion to the audience (Runyon) Samuel Boyce