CONCEPT OF THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO Definition, Characteristics IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE is one of the greatest conversations and even today

From this topic we will try to explain these points that are onward “What is Aristotle’s concept of an ideal tragic hero; What are the characteristics of an ideal tragic hero and his definition in poetics, What is a tragic hero according to Aristotle? What is Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, What is a tragic hero? What are the characteristics of a tragic hero? What is an example of a tragic hero.”


“CONCEPT OF THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE” is one of the greatest conversations and even today it is accepted as true as it was before. Aristotle presented the theory of imitation in his book Poetics. He has characterized art as the imitation of the action by the men. He presents the idea that this depiction may be better than real-life or worse than real life. He takes human beings as the medium of imitation. He finds those men in action or the source for the imitation of the action. He takes tragedy as the better representation of men in action than the actual life of these human beings. He presents the men in action as the ideal persons behaving more accurately than the real life in which they are spending. He notices the many characteristics of the representation of the ideal tragic hero. His aim is to treat the characters in order to dig out their hidden traits. He brings the tragic hero with essential traits before us.

Characteristics of the Ideal Tragic Hero

CONCEPT OF THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE is confirmed that there are “Characteristics and definition OF THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO” that under below:-

An ideal tragic hero should be good

An ideal tragic hero must be a virtuous person. He must incline towards the path of goodness and virtue. The first characteristic demanded by Aristotle seems to be perfect and fundamental. The critics and the authors find it as a strange demand for the fulfilment of the action. But the reader finds pleasure to see the goodness of the hero. The hero should follow the path of truth and morality. He must be fair in his dealings. The true good characters evoke feelings of pity and sympathy in the readers when they undergo suffering and drastic changes. The wicked person will not evoke such feelings of sympathy in the readers. They can not fit into the tragic action and the plot of the tragic play. Their suffering will be the result of their bad deeds. There will be no moral justice in the course of the tragic play if we place an entirely wicked person in the tragedy. This is one of the elements and definitions of an ideal tragic hero.                                                    

There is another ingredient of an ideal tragic hero as well as its definition in “POETICS BY ARISTOTLE”. Therefore there must be a selection of such a person for the role of an ideal tragic hero who is a blend of vice and virtue. The badness of the characters is required in some cases only to eradicate the moral wickedness. But Aristotle only favours it in the course of the main tragic event. He never gives his consent to the depravity of the character. He never allows making necessary use of it during the course of the play. The bad characters will not rule out according to the dictum of the Aristotelian theory. The ideal tragic hero must advocate the two extremes of goodness and badness. In contrast, perfectly good or virtuous characters cannot suit the action of the tragedy. They may produce feelings of piety but cannot arouse the feelings of pity and fear which is the demand of the tragedy.


The term can be interpreted in many ways. The characters must be appropriate in different conditions. The characters must behave according to the role assigned to them. The men in action in the tragedy must behave according to the demand of the tragic action. The individuals in the society are living an individual life. They perform different actions although they belong to the same social class. Their action cannot be titled as unified but they show variety and specific changes. He depicts that the king should behave kingly according to the demand of his character. The slave will practice the same action during the course of the tragic play because he is assigned to do so. A woman should follow the demands of her character. She should behave as womanly not manly. If she does so it will not produce the tragic effect in her case in the tragedy.

Each character and each situation must be appropriate to the demand of the tragic action and the theory of Aristotle. Aristotle has not elaborated on the ratio of the appropriateness of the characters. He has not told about the degree of appropriateness. The critic raises the question that either the character must be presented as a historical representation or the traditional portrait of those characters.


The validity of the tragic action requires consistency. The character must be consistent in his dealings. He must remain the same from the start of the play till the end. He must not present deviation in his character.  Consistency requires consistent behaviour during the course of the tragic action. The characters should speak and act in a unified manner throughout the course of the play.


The tragic hero must be a person of high stature and arouse feelings of likeness among the audience. Aristotle comes to the point that the characters must be better than the real life. He presents the men in action as depicting a better life than ordinary life. He illustrates the idea without any examples. The characters should be a mixture of goodness and badness. This will evoke a sense of likeness.

Hamartia; error of judgment

Hamartia; error of judgment is one of the huge characteristics of an ideal tragic hero in poetics by Aristotle. It is about the error of judgment or miscalculation by the tragic hero. It comes to us in three possible ways. The hero may be ignorant of the real situation. He acts in a particular way because he does not know the reality. He has no insight or knowledge of the truth. He does not consider the consequences of his actions and continues to act in the same particular pattern. It is the tragic flaw of some characters.

It is not about the moral depravity of the character of the tragic play. The downfall of the hero is due to the miscalculation and error in making judgments. His downfall does not based on his past experiences. The moral drawback cannot be associated with the idea of hamartia. In some cases, the hero may avoid the falling action but he does not try to control the action. He brings his own downfall by executing the action in no moment. Othello kills his wife in response to his anger and does not try to avoid it. The other case is associated with the moral defect of the character. Some characters suffer from this due to the defect of personality. They are addicted to acting in that particular way. Oedipus’s downfall was due to his excessive pride in his abilities.

What is Aristotle’s concept of the ideal tragic hero; definition of a tragic hero, and characteristics in poetics is our sole task in this topic. And that is completed here too and there remained no doubts about it.

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