A List of Tragic Heroes

Readers here and friends elsewhere know that I am intrigued by tragic heroes/heroines* in literature and film. Here is a list of the characters I have met and studied over time in film and books. (random order)

Joan of Arc in The Messenger
Orpheus in Greek Mythology from Bulfinch’s Mythology by Bulfinch
Leonidas, King of Sparta in Greek Mythology
Baldwin the IV of Jerusalem in The Kingdom of Heaven
Davus, Hypatia’s servant in Agora
Choi Yong in The Faith
Toghon Temur in Empress Ki
Park Sun Woo in Nine Time Travels
Leonid Youssoupov in The Window of Orpheus by Ryoko Ikeda
Drew in The Scythe by Ray Bradbury
Hector in The Illiad by Homer
Xiang Yu in The Song of Gaixia (The Hegemon’s Lament) and Annals of Xiang Yu in Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian
Achilles in Greek Mythology (choice between ordinary life/old age and short life/glory; his encounter with Penthesilea)
Mikhail Gorbachev up to the day after 24 August 1991
Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones
* refers to Tragic Heroes as explained by Aristotle, one that evokes pity and fear, pity for a person receiving undeserved misfortune and fear for having misfortune befall on someone like us and this reversal of fortune from good to bad is due to error of judgement and not vice on the part of the person

The tragic characteristic to me is the element of ‘having no choice’ or ‘all is too late’ as fate unfolds in the end and proves to be the inevitable.


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