New York Giant's Plaxico Burress

Essay by ndawg012College, UndergraduateB-, March 2009

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Within Aristotle’s Poetics, there are many people given the title of a ‘tragic hero’. In order to qualify for this respectable title, one must satisfy the following elements: Hamartia, Hubris, Catastrophe, Peripeteia, and Anagnorisis. In my opinion, Plaxico Antonio Burress can be labeled as a ‘tragic hero’ because his life experiences correspond with the necessary elements.

A brief background on Buress follows to explain the elements adequately and provide detail as to why he is truly a ‘tragic hero’. Plaxico Antonio Burress was born on august 12, 1977. He is American football wide receiver for the New York Giants of the NFL. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh Steelers in 2000 NFL draft. He played college football at Michigan State University. He broke his own season-record in Michigan University that he made in 1998 with 66 receptions for 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns in one season. He graduated with major in communication.

In his NFL career in giants, it’s noted “Eli Manning’s favorite target since joining the team in 2005…Over the last 3 seasons has led the team in receptions (209), receiving yards (3,227) and touchdown catches (29)…The 29 Manning-to-Burress touchdowns are the most by any quarterback-wide receiver tandem in the NFL since the start of the 2005 season. Has caught at least 60 passes in a season 6 times and more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season 4 times.” (NFL Giants). In the Super Bowl of XLII the Giants VS New England, with the score14 – 10, New England was winning with 35 seconds on the clock in the 4th quarter, Eli Manning passes the ball to Plaxico Burress and scores the winning touchdown, leading to an incredible victory by the Giants. Burress earned the Super Bowl ring with the giants. This season the Giants are ahead by 11 wins and 1 loss. Burress is a major asset to the team and build up his first essential element to label him a ‘tragic hero’ known as Hubris. Hubris is a person who thinks of themselves as above the law and thereby should receive superior treatment. Due to his accomplishments, he is known as an NFL superstar and role model for other athletes in his league.

A second necessary element to be described as a ‘tragic hero’ is Hamartia. Hamartia is defined as a mistake a person commits which can lead to their eventual downfall. His specific mistake started when Plaxico entered a Latin Quarter night club carrying a concealed illegal weapon on Saturday November 21, 2008 at approximately 1 am. He was with one of his teammates Antonio Pierce. His catastrophe occurred when Burress accidently shot himself in the right thigh in the VIP section of Latin Quarter. A witness testified saying “hearing a popping sound before Burress’ legs began to shake, according to a criminal complaint. It said the person saw a bloody pistol fall out of his pant leg and land on the floor before Burress said “Take me to a hospital.”” (Yahoo sports). Pierce took Burress to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and was treated and released later that Saturday. Burress did not have a gun holding permit. Burress was taken to court in handcuffs and posted bail for $100,000 on weapon possession charges. “Burress was charged with two counts of second- degree criminal possession of a weapon, which could result in prison sentence of 3 ½ years to 15 years if he is convicted, he is due back in court on march 31st “(Yahoo sports).

This life changing event leads to another element of Peripeteia. The Peripetia is when the person tries to do something noble and honorable yet it backfires leading to their downfall. Because of his fame, the gun was carried as a method of self defense. As a celebrity, he was simply trying to have fun and live a normal life, but a simple accident can cause a severe dent in his future and his successful career. The News stated that the Giant’s have not decided what to do with Burress, because he was suspended and fined for missing a team meeting in September (Yahoo sports). They could suspend him again for the Sunday game with the Eagles or they go extreme and kick him off the team, but that would affect the team’s salary cap next season.

The last element Anagnorisis can be explained by his awareness of his impending future. No one knows what will the verdict will be within his case. As a fan of the New York Giants, I hope everything works out. “I don’t think anybody should be exempt from that, and I think it would be an outrage if we didn’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law” says Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Yahoo sports). He has humiliated us as citizens by breaking the law and in addition, has not been a role model for kids, athletes, and our society.

Buress’s personal endeavors outside of his profession caused this minor mistake to occur which can lead to the end of his NFL career and possibly, a criminal record with required jail time. All the stated aspects of his life contain the elements that categorize him as a ‘tragic hero’ in modern history.


Work CitedLONG, COLLEEN. "Yahoo! Sports." Yahoo sports. 2 Dec. 2008. Yahoo! 2Dec. 2008