The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Tragic Heroes In Literature. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
Traditionally, tragic heroes begin as perfectly good characters who suffer a change in fortune from happiness to misery due to a mistaken act, which he performs due to his overwhelming natural flaw. An example of this is excessive pride, which overwhelms the tragic hero’s conscience, hence leading him to violate or ignore a moral law. The tragic hero evokes our pity because he is not thoroughly evil and his misfortune is greater than he deserves.
This essay aims to compare and contrast the characters of Esteban Trueba from The House of the Spirits, and Pedro and Pablo Vicario, from Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and explore to what extent these characters can be classified as heroes in a tragic drama. From our very first impressions of the young Esteban, we are shown an ambitious and intelligent man, whose harsh childhood and tragedy of his fiance’s death, Rosa the Beautiful, imprints bitterness early on in his life.
Trying to escape the burdens of his miserable past, Esteban devotes his life to his business and political careers, determined to be rich and powerful, “If there was anything that could alleviate the grief and rage of Rosa’s loss, it would be by breaking his back working in this ruined land1. ” However, Esteban owes much of his prosperity to the labor of the peasants at Tres Marias, yet he never treats them with respect and is quick to develop a valid reputation for being a tyrant and a rapist.
Tragic In Latin
These tendencies to abusively exercise his superiority over his employees, and his careless fulfillment of self-gratification demonstrates how Esteban’s bitterness and frustrations embedded in his past transforms him into an egoistic, callous and violent man, entirely consumed by his own self-aggrandizement. Esteban’s move to Tres Marias appears satiate his voracious appetite only temporarily, for he only ever experiences fleeting moments of satisfaction before his monstrous and accumulating need eventually overwhelms him.
For Esteban, marriage, children, prosperity and power acquired at Tres Marias seemed the perfect solution to all his problems, promising happiness and security. Yet Esteban’s inability to compromise, his violent temper, callousness and above all, his pride, all combine together as his fatal flaw which inevitably leads to his downfall. In the end, Esteban is left a lonely, broken man as his violent temper and unforgiving and uncompromising character eventually isolates him from those he loved the most. In my deluded solitude, I sat waiting for my son in the armchair of my library, my eyes glued to the doorsill, calling to him with my mind, as I used to call for Clara2. ” In his old age, political victory and material prosperity have little significance now that Esteban has lived long enough to understand that life without love or family is no longer worth living. He is now reduced to a pitiful old man, left entirely alone just as his sister, Ferula, has accurately predicted. “You will always be alone.
Your body and souls will shrivel up and you’ll die like a dog! 3” Hence as the novel progresses, Esteban undergoes a dynamic change from an empathic and unfortunate boy to, arguably, an evil despot and with each political and business success, Esteban’s character deteriorates as his fatal flaws increasingly manifest themselves in his obsessive and violent behavior. Throughout the novel, we are shown unforgivable acts of violence and callousness, to the point where one could argue that he becomes vilified and in fact loses the reader’s empathy entirely.
Yet Esteban is so tragic, because without wanting or choosing to, the more Esteban prospers, the more his incontrollable temper and overwhelming pride drives away those he loves the most. This ultimately leads to his gradual moral deterioration and leaves him utterly alone, and as the story reaches its conclusion, we see that events have turned out justly as Esteban is punished by his own grief and solitude as a direct result of his wrong behavior, and in this he becomes redeemed in our eyes for finally understanding his mistakes.
For his redemption lies in his regret and penitence, and in his relinquishment of power and acknowledgement of his failure, “He was not crying because he had lost power. He was crying for his country4,” thus confirming his role as a tragic hero. In the Columbian town where the narrative of Chronicle of a Death Foretold unfolds, honor is taken with utmost severity, and all the characters in the novel are seen to be strongly influenced by this ultimate ideal, and it is the preservation of this ideal that becomes directly accountable for the murder of Santiago Nasar.
For the revelation of their sister’s soiled virginity causes dishonor within the family and in order to clear Angela’s name and restore the family honor, Pedro and Pablo Vicario take upon them the duty of killing their friend, Santiago, the alleged perpetrator of Angela’s virginity. Being trapped in a brutal, repressive and patriarchal society, the twins feel the need to assert their masculinity by displaying their attempts to restore family honor. The brothers were brought up to be men5,” and Pablo Vicario’s fiance claimed at a later stage during the novel that had he not taken the responsibility to restore family pride, she would not have considered him man enough to marry. However, it becomes apparent that the twins are very reluctant to go through with this act of murder, and by announcing their plans of restoring family honor to the community at large they secretly hope that someone will prevent them from actualizing these plans.
Yet very few characters in the novel ever question the twins’ murder threats for the sake of family honor, due to the significance paid to this fundamental cultural ideal. Thus the community is reduced to passive bystanders, aware of the fatal fate awaiting Santiago, and leaving the twins no choice but to inevitably fulfill their threat. Hence one can question the justice of condemning Pablo and Pedro Vicario of being actual murderers.
For despite the brutality of their crime, the real murderer of Santiago Nasar appears to be the community itself – for its old-fashioned ideals which surpass morality and the value of life. No evidence is ever found concerning the identity of Angela’s perpetrator, and as the novels ambiguity gives reason for the reader to doubt the guilt of Santiago, it seems even more unfair that Santiago’s murder should be accepted so naturally and unquestionably.
Instead it seems correct to establish the twins as victims of their own time and culture, where the weight of cultural norms and social expectations forced them into a situation they did not want, and in fact tried to avoid. It is ultimately these fatal character flaws – their weakness of independent character and inability to stand up for their moral virtues against cultural expectations – that makes them candidates for the title of tragic hero. Hence in conclusion, one can establish that both Esteban and the Vicario twins are projected, to different extents, as tragic heroes in their respective novels.
Esteban, for his malevolent temper and unyielding pride which ultimate estranges him from those he cherishes the most, leaving him a lonely, broken man to suffer and repent in his old age, and the Vicario twins, who had been “brought up to be men” which, in all its context, included asserting their masculinity by preserving family honor at any cost – even by murdering their friend, thus rendering them victims of their own time and culture. However, tragic as the Vicario twins are ndeed, they fade in comparison to Esteban’s suitability as a candidate for the title of tragic hero, as the twins’ tragic flaw lie only in their lack of standing up to cultural expectations, and although they may be victimized in themselves, no event arises to redeem them in the reader’s eyes. For the Various twins, albeit playing an essential role in a tragedy, cannot entirely be reconciled at tragic heroes as they lack the overwhelming personal character flaw and single obsessive drive to fulfill their ambitions, as seen in they way they secretly actually wish to be prevented from carrying out the murder.
Esteban, on the other hand, shows true traits of the traditional tragic hero as his character undergoes dynamic transformations from a pitiful boy struggling for survival through a harsh childhood, to a steady deterioration in morality as his fatal character flaws become ever more salient, and finally to a state of realization and acknowledgement of his mistakes and bad actions, as he realizes that his obsession for self-aggrandizement, his violent temper and his unyielding pride comes back to haunt and overwhelm him.
And it is in his last days as a withered and shriveled old man that he is redeemed in our eyes as he repents for his mistakes, and comes to terms with his losses, as well as his attempts to reconcile with his daughter and past, that ultimately mark him as the tragic hero of Allende’s The House of the Spirits.