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A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.
A tragic hero is one that has one major flaw and the audience usually feels pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion.
Aristotle established his view of what makes a tragic hero in Poetics. Aristotle suggests that a hero of a tragedy must evoke in the audience a sense of pity or fear, saying, “the change of fortune presented must not be the spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity." He establishes the concept that the emotion of pity stems not from a person becoming better but when a person receives undeserved misfortune and fear comes when the misfortune befalls a man like us. This is why Aristotle points out the simple fact that, “The change of fortune should be not from bad to good, but, reversely, from good to bad.” Aristotle also establishes that the hero has to be “virtuous” that is to say he has to be "a morally blameless man” (article 82). The Hero's flaw is what will bring him success but death by the end of the work.
Aristotle contests that the tragic hero has to be a man “who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.” He is not making the hero entirely good in which he can do no wrong but rather has the hero committing an injury or a great wrong leading to his misfortune. Aristotle is not contradicting himself saying that the hero has to be virtuous and yet not eminently good. Being eminently good is a moral specification to the fact that he is virtuous. He still has to be to some degree good. Aristotle adds another qualification to that of being virtuous but not entirely good when he says, “He must be one who is highly renowned and prosperous.” He goes on to give examples such as Oedipus and Thyestes.”