Sunday, 19 April 2015

Aristotle’s Concept of Tragic Hero

Aristotle’s Concept of Tragic Hero

Function of a tragedy, according to Aristotle, is to arouse the emotions of pity and fear. Therefore three types of plot should be avoided. Firstly, a perfectly good man should not be  shown as passing from happiness to misery. Such an action would be morally shocking. Secondly, the spectacle of an utterly bad man passing from misery to happiness is unacceptable to us and should be avoided.

Aristotle 2
Thirdly, the spectacle of the downfall of a villain will satisfy our moral sense and cannot arouse the emotions of pity and fear. Having excluded three types of plot, Aristotle opts for a protagonist who is not predominantly virtuous not thoroughly bad. Aristotle points that an ideal tragic hero is “the sort of person who is not outstanding in moral excellence or justice; on the other hand, the change to bad fortune which he undergoes is not due to any moral defect or depravity, but to an error of some kind” [Poetics, Amlan Das Gupta (ed.) Pearson, and Longman]. Butcher points out that he is like us and raised above the ordinary level by a deeper vein of feeling, or a heightened powers of intellect or will. He idealised, but still he has so much of common humanity as to enlist our interest and sympathy. Apart from the inner qualities of a tragic hero, Aristotle lays bare another significant aspect of tragic hero. “He is one of those people who are held in great esteem and enjoy great good fortune, like Oedipus, Thyestes” [Poetics, Amlan Das Gupta (ed.)]. On the whole, he must be a highly placed individual, well-reputed, but in moral sense he would be men like us.

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