In drama and film, a hero is the person without whom the plot of the story will lack direction. The storyline revolves around the hero, and other characters help the artist to derive the traits that he intended to bring out about the hero. Therefore, in every movie or play, the hero is an indispensable character. However, there are different kinds of heroes starting from the romantic hero, renaissance hero and medieval heroes. These heroes can be either tragic heroes or non tragic heroes. Tragic heroes have different traits that differ from the traits of the modern hero in a variety of ways.
Difference of the Modern Hero and Tragic Hero
An example of the modern Hero is Andy in the Shawshank Redemption. This character is denied freedom after he is implicated for the death of his wife. However, he is an innocent man who seeks to get freedom from prison. This character differs from the tragic hero in many ways; one of these ways is that this character does not come from a noble background. Tragic heroes had a noble ancestry, and this made them get many privileges in life (Reynolds 78). Andy does not have these privileges, and he works his way to the top, and he becomes a successful banker; his success is not a result of nobility, but a result of his hard work.
Tragic characters (heroes) have tragic flaws that lead to their down fall; these weaknesses act as the things that pull the tragic heroes down, but modern heroes seem to suffer as a result of fate or injustice. For instance, Andy suffers because the justice system fails to see Andy’s innocence. In contrast, tragic characters contribute to their own downfall; they have an Achilles heel that makes them doomed to fail in the end (Reynolds 92). For instance, Othello (Shakespeare) dies because he feels insecure; this insecurity makes Othello do some things that lead to his death-he trusts some people he should not have trusted.
The tragic hero also suffers a tragic fall. The modern hero’s fall is guided by some enemies who want him to suffer, but the tragic hero suffers because he has chosen to follow a certain way. For instance, Othello follows Iago and trusts him, yet Iago plays his cards so as to implicate innocent people for crimes they did not commit. The tragic hero, unlike the modern hero, is very successful, and his downfall can only be described as tragic. This is because this tragic fall in The punishment of the tragic hero is not deserved. This is because he does not do things that should have him killed; mostly, he is not killed in war- he is killed in a tragic manner. For instance, Othello is killed because he is made to believe that his wife has some extramarital affairs. Jealousy envelops Othello, and this leads to his downfall and the death of his wife. The modern hero wins at the end; justice is served and the modern hero becomes a free man (Reynolds 141). For instance, Andy escapes prison, and he becomes a very successful man.
The fall of the tragic hero does not constitute a complete fall for the hero. This is because there is some truth that is learnt at the end. For instance, Othello dies, and Iago’s evils done are unearthed. Therefore, the death of this tragic hero brings about knowledge that helps other people. For instance, Iago is seen as an evil character, and he is punished. The modern hero also becomes successful, and he overcomes the injustices that have been imposed on him.