Arguably the best piece of writing ever done by
William Shakespeare, Hamlet the is the classic example of a tragedy. In all tragedies the hero suffers, and usually
dies at the end. Othello stabs himself, Romeo and Juliet
commit suicide, Brutis falls on his sword, and like them
Hamlet dies by getting cut with a poison tipped sword. But that is not all that is needed to consider a play a tragedy, and sometimes a hero doesn't even need to die.
Not every play in which a Hero dies is considered a
tragedy. There are more elements needed to label a play
one. Probably the most important element is an amount of
free will. In every tragedy, the characters must displays
some. If every action is controlled by a hero's destiny,
then the hero's death can't be avoided, and in a tragedy the sad part is that it could.
Hamlet's death could have been avoided many times. Hamlet had many opportunities to kill Claudius, but did not take advantage of them. He also had the option of making his claim public, but instead he chose not too. A tragic hero doesn't need to be good. For example, MacBeth was evil, yet he was a tragic hero, because he had free will. He also had only one flaw, and that was pride. He had many good traits such as bravery, but his one bad trait made him evil. Also a tragic hero doesn't have to die. While in all Shakespearean tragedies, the hero dies, in others he may live but suffer "Moral Destruction".
In Oedipus Rex, the proud yet morally blind king plucks
out his eyes, and has to spend his remaining days as a
wandering, sightless beggar, guided at every painful
step by his daughter, Antigone. A misconception about...