The tricky art of defining a ‘tragic hero’

Yet again, somehow or another I’ve been detained from entering any of English classes until further notice due to my portrayal of both Hitler and genocide in a positive light. Now, I understand why this may have happened, I did, yet again open my tremendous and voluminous mouth to give my opinion and then little did I realize the destructive path I’d leave behind.
If none of you have heard of A.C Bradley before, he is worldwide renowned as the ‘Shakespearean tragedy critic’ his works are widely used in colleges and university’s in Britain and across Europe, he is what my teacher described as ‘a beast’ Feeling confident and quite cocky I had the audacity to stand up to one of his teachings, last week and question his unrivaled authority upon the subject matter of ‘tragic heroes’
According to Mr Bradley, to be a tragic ‘hero’ you must exhibit the certain qualities: To have died alone, to have been an architect of your own will, to have once been happy, to have been good at what you did and admirable or striking in a particular way. So whilst the rest of my class deliberate don how Amy Winehouse and other attention seeking whores such as Kerry Katona were ‘heroes’ I set out to prove Bradley’s theory wrong and chose 3 people who were obviously going to be a focal point of controversy: Hitler, Stalin and Bin Laden
Now, if we looked at it in Bradley’s viewpoint, all of these corrupt and evil men tick the criteria needed to be a ‘tragic hero’ (All except Hitler who did not in fact die alone but with Ava Braun)
Now I agree to some extent that I am a stubborn bitch. But, when I have an opinion, a viewpoint, a reckoning and a reasoning I can’t lose sight of my aim, my feelings upon a topic. I’m not condemning Bradley work, he is nothing short of a genius, I’m not leftwing Arthur Miller politically theory either, I just don’t agree with Bradley on his view on what makes a tragic hero.
I’m also not agreeing with Miller and his reasoning that any man has the potential to be a tragic hero, I don’t even know myself what a tragic hero is, all I know is that if my teacher is going to be a bigoted hypocrite and boot me out of her class for my portrayal of Hitler in a somewhat positive light even after I gave my evidence base don one of literary greatest critics, then I have lost faith in all literary teachings and scholars. This is why in English I tend to be conformed to myself only, it’s only myself who listen to myself.


Filed under Authors, Books, New Criticism, Thoughts, Uncategorized

2 responses to “The tricky art of defining a ‘tragic hero’

  1. Quite right too – wading into critics is one of the best things about studying English lit. Just because someone’s got a big name, doesn’t mean they’re right about everything (or that what they said can’t be improved upon). Even geniuses have off days.

    That said, while you may not agree with Miller’s politics, two of his characters, Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman and Eddie from A View from the Bridge, are good counter arguments to Bradley. While some people might call them anti-heroes, there is no question that their destruction is the seat of emotional power in those plays. It evokes Aristotle’s ‘pity and fear’.

  2. My view exactly! One world rekowned critic is not enough to completly prove and justify a theory. I think it’s just an integral point of the course that we include views from different critics and schools of thought, therefore why she was so determined for us to study A.C Bradley. He is a genius though, I can’t doubt it. We are actually studying ‘Death of a Salesman’ but only after the Christmas term, so I guess in January I’ll have some more to say upon this topic. I’ve just been given a warning to keep my ‘genocide loving’ views to paper. I scorn upon the system somedays.

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