Aristotle 's The Tragic Hero

Decent Essays
In Poetics, Aristotle claims four requirements for the tragic hero. The hero must be good. The hero must have appropriate quality of his or her gender and class. The hero must be true to life. Lastly, the hero must be consistent. These four characteristics are present in many tragic heroes. However, there are so many different authors with different interpretations of the tragic hero, that to define the tragic hero with merely four traits is not plausible. Aristotle defines the tragic hero in a way too simple manner. Aristotle’s statement that “It (tragic hero) must be good.” is not very definitive. “Good” is a subjective term. All characters have different point of views and their interpretation of the term “good” varies accordingly. For example in The Oresteia, Clytaemnestra and Orestes are both tragic heroes, and yet their understanding of “good” conflicts each other. In Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra murders her husband, who is also the father of Orestes. In doing so, she justifies herself saying “By the child’s Rights I brought to birth by Ruin, by Fury… Here he lies. He brutalized me. The darling of all the golden girls who spread the gates of Troy.” (Agamemnon, 1459-1466) In her understanding, the murder of Agamemnon was a righteous punishment for the murder of Iphigeneia. On the other hand, in Orestes’ point of view, his mother is a detestable murderer that he must kill in order to avenge his father’s death. While confronting his mother, Orestes says “I want to butcher
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