Evolution of the Tragic Hero : a shift from God to Man
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The thesis aims to follow the evolution of the figure of the Tragic Hero from the ancient Greek age up to the modern age. This is done in the light of Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Miller’s concept of the Tragic Hero. The objective is to show how the tragic hero has been redefined throughout history and transformed into a modern day tragic hero who is much different than what was originally defined by Aristotle. My aim is to analyze the diversity of the tragic conception, its continuity and major deviations from the classical order to the modern times. To examine the diversity of tragic hero over time this paper looked at five plays, Oedipus Rex (430 B.C) by Sophocles from the classical time period, Doctor Faustus (1604) by Christopher Marlowe from the 16th century, Hamlet (1603) by William Shakespeare from the renaissance period, Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller and Desire Under The Elms (1924) by Eugene O’Neill from the 20th century. The thesis comprises of five chapters where the first chapter deals with the classical concept of tragic hero by including the Aristotelian concept dealt with in Poetics. This chapter discusses how Sophocles, placed his tragic hero in the context of the fundamental Greek concepts of religion, law, crime and punishment. The second chapter deals with the renaissance concept of a tragic hero portrayed by Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, which marks a subtle yet significant difference from the Aristotelian form. The third chapter deals with the modern concept of a tragic hero which broke away from the traditional picture of a tragic hero and highlighted the shift from God to Man.