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The Significance of Tragic Heroes in Literature

The Significance of Tragic Heroes in Literature

If you have ever felt the pain of a character in a movie you are watching; or if you ever thought that a character should be punished or made to pay for the wrong things he or she has done then the director the cast and the writer has achieved his mission. The role of characters in movies plays a significant role. Tragic heroes in literature add value to the creativity of the writer in addition to being very critical aspects of the analysis of the paper itself. Watching a movie or reading a playbook that does not have tragic heroes is equal to watching a soccer match where a team is not playing against any opponent.

Tragic heroes in literature are those characters that spice up an essay given that they play a critical role. It thrills to see the mistakes they make and how such errors lead to their tragic end. In essence, this paper seeks to explore the part of heroes in literature thesis as well as in the entire essay and how they affect the reader understanding of their action. Before then, it is imperative to answer the question of who are the tragic heroes.

What is a Tragic Hero?

To understand who these heroes are, they defined as those who are the major characters in a film, a play or a drama. Their key characteristic is that they are somewhat self-destructive in the sense that they make costly mistakes which end up affecting them negatively. Such errors come from their knowledge of judgment, their relationship with other characters, and how they handle certain situations. In other words, they make irrational decisions that bear terrible consequences. Tragic heroes in literature are the focal point of the whole story. Other than spicing up the story, their judgment affects how the audience perceives the story and how they react to it.

Further Definition of Heroes in Literature Essay

Tragic heroes are the protagonists who are either way essentially tragic. More so, they are the major characters in stories whose error of judgment bears grave consequences. The Aristotle tragedy has an example of Oedipus as one of the tragic heroes in literature examples.

The Characteristics of Tragic Heroes in Literature

To appreciate more about these heroes, it is imperative to understand what qualities they possess and how such attributes affect their actions in a story. Listed below are some of those characteristics:

  • They have terrible faults or weaknesses that eventually expose them to their demise or downfall
  • They represent a complete reverse of destiny
  • They are too proud to adhere to the fundamental rules, and the natural way of doing things, and that leads them to look down on others hence succumbing to their negative behaviors. In other words, they only listen to themselves and follow their instincts to the exclusion of reasonable ideas brought forth by others.
  • They help in discovering substantial events or things that make up the whole story. Audiences get to know about a twist or something new as the story progresses because of them.
  • Some of the feelings such as pity, sympathy, or love towards them by the audiences are brought about by their actions and decisions and their collapse.

Tragic heroes in literature essay are the victims of their actions; hence, they end up suffering even more. Additionally, Aristotle describes a tragic hero as a personality of great eminence with activities that are complete and serious in every sense. Tragic heroes in literature examples have been shown as bearing personalities. Though not wholly good, they must be role models to a section of the viewers or audience. More so, tragic heroes in heroes in literature ought not to be seen as villains or as people who are completely wicked for their downfall because in such a case his or her death would justify the viewer's moral sense and fail to ignite a feeling of sympathy or fear.

The negative characteristics of tragic heroes in literature essay are not supposed to be magnified, but instead, their goodness should come out clearly for the audience to feel for them. Their mistakes should be as small as possible. In Aristotle's words, pity for the tragic heroes in literature emanates from the misfortune, which in our feelings is not of their own making.

Heroes in literature essay can be completely good and exhaustively bad. A tragic hero, according to Aristotle, should be in between virtuous and bad. People fear for the destruction of tragic heroes in literate because of their good side and at the same time pities them because of a feeling that their doom could be occasioned by their own error of judgment. In essence, even the introduction paragraph of an essay, even the tragic heroes in literature thesis must acknowledge that such a hero ought to be a mixture of both characters.

Finding Tragic Heroes

All literature themed on tragedies has tragic heroes. The reason for informing their presence is that there can never be a tragedy without a tragic hero. Poems do have tragic heroes, books such as Romeo and Juliet have tragic heroes, and even series such as a game of thrones have tragic heroes. To find heroes in literature examples like the one mentioned above, it is imperative that you focus on how you connect to the character or the characters contained in the story and after that ask yourself if their downfall will warrant a feeling from you. It is essential to check if you get affected by the suffering of the tragic hero you have identified. Equally, all tragic heroes in literature succumb because of their own mistakes. It is imperative to determine the mistake or error which contributes to their demise or self-destruction. For example, the death of Romeo and Juliet and the blinding love that clouded their sense of judgment to the point of taking poison.

Heroes in Literature Examples

Here are some of the heroes in literature examples:

  • The Shakespearean Hamlet
  • A case of Romeo in the Play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
  • Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby
  • You can also consider Severus Snape by J.K. Rowling and,
  • Shel Silverstein's giving tree

Jay Gatsby

Inability to realize that somethings will never happen or some realities will never be achieved is one of the reasons why Gatsby is a tragic hero who ends up dead. The love he has for daisy blinds him to the extent that he looks for the ideal traits that, in essence, are unachievable. This can be described as a love that is driven by nothing but emotions. Gatsby does everything for the love of his life expecting the same, but that does not happen. When he finally wins her over, he realizes that his expectation can never be met fully because he is an idealist. The relationship ends up draining all the happiness he had, and he becomes sad.

Hamlet as one of the Tragic Heroes in Literature

Despite Hamlet's nobility and astuteness, he has terrible mistakes that end up consuming him. He is obsessed and indecisive, and these are his major weaknesses. In as much as his father was, killed, his obsession with avenging the death does not come to pass because he cannot make any progress because of his inability to decide. He eventually discovered the effect that his father was killed by his uncle, yet he cannot make a move to deal with him. The consequence of his inability to act costs him time but ends up benefiting his uncle who decides to kill him by poison but as not expected, his mother ends up as the victim. She drinks the poison instead of the target who is Hamlet, and she dies. He also triumphs over his error but ends up dead.

Romeo as one of the Tragic Heroes in Literature

Being one of the tragic heroes in literature, Romeo's fate is characterized by blind love that sees him react emotionally to the point of his death. He loves Juliet to the point of doing anything possible to end up with her. He does not care about the consequence of his action. The thought that Juliet is dead is too much for him to take, and he ends up killing himself. He is a classic example of a tragic hero whose sense of judgment ends up to a complete twist. He commits suicide to level things up and join Juliet in her sleep.

Heroes in Literature Essay: Severus Snape

This is probably one of the most controversial characters attracting agreements and disagreement in terms of whether he was a tragic hero or not. Whereas there is an agreement in some quarters that he is a tragic hero, some have entirely disagreed with the former opinion and said that he is not a tragic hero. Your task this case would be to provide evidence; in other words, his errors to the effect that he was indeed a tragic hero. Severus Snape's flaw is his love for Lily, which enslaves him to the point of always taking care of Harry Porter even though there is nothing binding them. He detests Harry but has to watch after him after all.

Heroes in Literature Essay: Peter Pan

His most significant and disastrous character is his fear. He wants to remain young forever and never grow old. This obsession with youthfulness is a considerable blemish that makes him a tragic hero. He is lonely and cannot catch up with his peers who grew up long ago, and he has to deal with it. After a while, everything has escaped his mind, and he no longer remembers things. This is a quality or a blemish that makes him a tragic hero because of the sadness of the twist.

The Giving Tree as one of the Heroes in Literature Essay

Another love story that ends up consuming the tree is the giving tree love story. His everlasting love for the boy sees him give his parts to the boy. He does love the boy more than he loves himself. This is his major weakness, which becomes his downfall. Having given out almost all its parts to the boy, he is now only left with the stump, and for that reason, he suffers the consequence of his generosity.

How to Approach Writing about Tragic Heroes in Literature Thesis

Just like any other essay, thesis statements are the key to creating good literature. Tragic heroes in literature thesis are the basis of the story, and for that matter, the tragic heroes stories, which is a narrative essay should have its thesis in the form of a synopsis. This is more of an explanation of the influences of the hero. Also, various ways can be adopted when doing an assignment about tragic heroes, and it is advised that the instructions as laid down by the lecturers be checked out first.

Some of the approaches include:

Thinking outside the Box

This implies that one can alternatively generate a story or handle their articles as interviews where the tragic heroes explain their actions as well as provides the reasons informing such actions. Tragic heroes have something to tell with regards to their actions and judgment. Thinking outside the box will help you bring the best out of the heroes through the two methods highlighted.

Using Imagination

Applying one's power in terms of mental creativity goes a long way in writing tragic heroes in literature. Importantly, this is the chance to get yourself entertained, and you shouldn't blow it away by making the paper sound more tragic.


To conclude, tragic heroes in literature thesis and any other literature play very critical roles in ensuring that the article balances the feelings of the readers and that of the heroes. It would be unimaginable to read Romeo and Juliet without Romeo as the character, or even the giving tree without the generous tree. Every great story must create feelings and emotional response from the readers, and that is the role of heroes in literature essays.