Talk:Tragic hero

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Does this necessitate a whole article[edit]

I really don't feel as though this page should exist. Should wikipedia cover archetypes? This really seems like the job of a website like tvtropes, not a formal encyclopedia. (talk) 20:25, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Are you kidding? The Tragic Hero is one of the most important concepts in Western drama, from Aeschylus to Henry Miller. StrangeAttractor (talk) 03:19, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Gollum as a tragic hero example[edit]

The addenda to "The Two Towers" describes gollum as a tragic hero. Would he be an good example? Jeffrey.Rodriguez (talk) 20:12, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

No. The point is not to have an exhaustive list. The point is to have the basic examples that all the other candidates are compared to. Basically when one is talking about a "tragic hero" they are comparing a character to characters in Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare. Personally I'd say it is debatable that Gollum can be compared to those. Ekwos (talk) 23:51, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

What about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader a few modern examples would make this page more relevant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Although the present page does not include any modern examples (I haven't looked at the history, but I can sense that the article has been completely revamped recently), yes, I think Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is a decent example from pop culture. There are certainly many more "literary" 20th century examples in literature and film -- for example, Jay Gatz of The Great Gatsby is a 20th century revision of the tragic hero -- but Darth Vader would be relevant to a very wide audience, and in many ways, Star Wars features the same sort of broad archetypes as classical Greek drama, so is perhaps particularly well suited to providing modern examples of Aristotelian ideas. Gollum, however, does not really fit the Aristotelian idea -- he's tragic, certainly, but not a hero. The tragic hero, as it generally plays out in Greek drama and in the Western tradition that followed, is often tragic because of his (or her) greatness -- the arrogance (hubris) that comes with greatness of character and strength often leads to an error of judgement or necessity (necessity in the sense of doing what one's sense of right-and-wrong demands, as when Orestes murders his mother in avenging her murder of his father -- he knows that he will be committing the worst possible crime in the eyes of the gods, but feels compelled to do it out of the prevalent codes of justice/honor of his culture, which demand that he avenge his father's murder no matter what, even if it is by his mother). Gollum is a character motivated by greed and weakness, not by strength. StrangeAttractor (talk) 03:24, 10 April 2015 (UTC)


Wow, weird. I went ahead and added Gollum and Darth Vader before even reading this. It seems foolish to not include them because there more identifiable. Average people don't know who those other characters are. If you wish to remove their names maybe you should create a new little section area thingy for it and title it "Mondern Examples" or something. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:58, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Personally I don't see how Gollum is a "tragic hero" by any stretch of the imagination. He is a guy that chanced upon a cursed ring that ruined him. No tragedy there. The tragic hero is tragic because of their own actions. They aren't tragic because something bad happens to them and the audience feels sorry for them. The tragic hero drives the action; things just sort of happen to Gollum. (talk) 19:27, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Well actually Golem murdered his friend to get the ring. He choose to do the killing no one forced him. Many tragic heroes make bad choices for power or wealth. Golem is a perfect example of this killing to gain a magic ring. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:21, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Oedipus drives the action in Oedipus Rex by his ongoing pushing to find the king's murderer. Antigone drives the action in Antigone by her ongoing pushing to give her brother a proper burial. Hamlet drives the action in Hamlet by driving to avenge his father's murder. Gollum is a supporting character that adds a little color and is a bit of a stumbling-block for Frodo. Gollum could disappear from the book and the Lord of the Rings would be about the same, albeit shorter. He is no tragic hero. (talk) 06:43, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Oedipus sleeps with his mother for a throne, Hamlet kills for a throne, Antigone tries to bury a traitor, all of them make bad decisions for power or poor personal reasons. Also Gollum allows the reader to see the corrupting influence of the one ring without him the reader would wonder why the ring is so evil since whoever uses it does so with little change to their personality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Oedipus killed his father while not knowing the man was his father, sleeps with his mother, while not knowing the woman was his mother. He gets the throne by marrying the queen. However, in Oedipus Rex, the plot is driven by his unrelenting search for a criminal (who turns out to be himself). Hamlet is working to avenge his father's death (per the conversation with his father's ghost on a short trip out of Hell). Antigone is burying her brother who is a traitor. She has the more classic tragic problem of being faced with a decision for which neither choice will turn out well for her. She can obey the king and then fall afoul of rules of conduct regarding family, or bury the brother and fall afoul of the king. Either way the gods will not be pleased. As for Gollum...nothing you have said about him makes him a "tragic hero". If he is just there to show the ring is bad, he still isn't *doing* anything that drives the story. Let's take Orestes. He is faced with the choice of not avenging his father's death (by not killing his mother) and thereby offending the gods, versus killing his mother (thereby avenging his father's death) and thereby offending the gods. He has to do one or the other and that makes things tragic. (talk) 19:43, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I totally agree. Gollum operates out of weakness, not strength. He's tragic, in the modern sense, but not a tragic hero. I personally do not think "driving the story" is the essential quality of a Tragic Hero (although certainly, you wouldn't want to write a story about one who didn't drive the story) but rather that his fatal flaw derives directly from his greatness (or her greatness). The concept is of a noble figure who is morally driven and personally strong, whose arrogance, ignorance, or (often) strong sense of morality leads to grave crime (often, in Greek tragedy, spilling the blood of kin). StrangeAttractor (talk) 03:29, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Arthur Miller Tragedy[edit]

Someone removed Arthur Miller before, but his play, Death of a Salesman, is a tragedy. However, his tragic hero is a normal man, not a 'hero'. So... should his name be on the list at he intro? He talks about it in his essay, Tragedy and the Common Man. Noreplyz (talk) 07:39, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Some would argue that a tragedy cannot be about a normal man...that a tragedy is about how a great man (or woman) deals with an impossible situation. I happen to agree, and think that the Arthur Miller essay misunderstands tragedy. The problem is that our contemporary notion of 'tragedy' is a product of 19th century romanticism, and should be differentiated from classical tragedy. Modern 'tragic heroes' are really 'romantic heroes'. (talk) 23:17, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Arthur Miller's Willy Loman is certainly controversial as a "tragic hero" but absolutely deserves mention. This is one of the most important plays of the 20th century, and there has been much critical discussion about whether Loman fits the definition or not. For that very reason, it deserves mention in the article. StrangeAttractor (talk) 03:33, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

TvTropes, notablity[edit]

I'm pretty sure we can't cite as a notable source... XD Robodoggy (talk) 01:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)


Is it just me, or is the language of this article rather opaque?MjolnirPants (talk) 00:04, 29 December 2013 (UTC)