In the morality and drive of a hero

In the source article, “The Shakespearean Tragic Hero,” the author, A. C. Bradley, explores the morality and drive of a hero in a tragedy and what makes said hero a tragic one. ¬The article begins with describing what it is that makes a tragic hero. The traits are as follows, this person must be of importance or be held to such a respect that places him above the rest of humanity. Bradley goes on to explain how it will be this greatness, this being held at a high esteem that will be the hero’s undoing.

Along with being of greatness, the hero will have a trait, a ‘tragic flaw’, that will be his untimely demise. This flaw also doubles as the hero’s greatness, a tragic gift of sorts. Bradley (1904) said thus, “It is a fatal gift, but it carries with it a touch of greatness…. we realize the full power and reach of the soul, the conflict in which it engages acquires that magnitude which stirs not only sympathy and pity, but admiration, terror and awe.

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” With this point, Bradley goes on to explain why these tragic people are the way they are. Their moral undoing and conflicts are what readers are meant to relate to and reflect on. The readers are meant to sympathize with and root for the protagonists. The article goes on to explain that tragic heroes reflect humanity and it’s endless search for perfection. The author concludes because of the moral truth that can be found in Shakespeare’s works, how good is used by evil to propel itself ahead. The evil will take over the hero and drain said protagonists of all they are worth until that hero’s tragic fate is met.

To borrow Bradley’s (1904) words, “it is necessary that he should have so much of greatness that in his error and fall we may be vividly conscious of the possibilities of human nature.” Bradley finishes by leaving his readers with an answer to a question they didn’t know they had asked. The author answers the question of what is moral good and evil and he answered this using the unfortunate circumstances that thrust tragic heroes into choices that only be to the very extreme ends of the ethical spectrum.


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