The Self Defeat of Heroes in Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Character Analysis of Hamlet and Othello

1495 Words6 Pages
The Self-Defeat of Heroes in Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Character Analysis of Hamlet and Othello Introduction Aristotle asserted that all tragic heroes had fundamental flaws that were the source of their undoing, and that were typically the source of their initial success, as well. Oedipus thinks he acts with justice, wisdom, and the assurance of success, and these things also cause him to completely destroy himself when he discovers the truth of his situation, as one prominent example. The idea, then, that tragic heroes are in some way the source of their own undoing is not new, but rather is a foundational feature of the Western dramatic and literary traditions. From the time of the earliest recorded Western plays and some of the earliest recorded pieces of Western literature, a specific fascination the hero's character in relation to his or her eventual crumbling has been a strong recurrent theme in literature and in criticism. This does not mean, of course, that the concepts of tragic heroes, tragic flaws, and an inspection of the protagonist have remained unchanged over the millennia. Tales grew somewhat less grand in scope as the centuries progressed, and this has led to an increased subtlety and complexity in the construction of tragic heroes and the bringing about of their downfall. An examination of two of Shakespeare's most well known and critically examined tragedies, Hamlet and Othello, demonstrates the changes in heroic traits and identities that have

More about The Self Defeat of Heroes in Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Character Analysis of Hamlet and Othello

Open Document