Essay On The Tragic Hero In Fences

1343 Words 6 Pages
By the mid-1980s in his play Fences, August Wilson created characters who underwent self-inflicted crises in accordance with the classical Greek tradition of a tragedy. A literature tragedy presents sorrowful events caused by a heroic individual, also known as a tragic hero. An Aristotelian tragic hero must possess specific characteristics such as: a flaw or error of judgment, a reversal of fortune and recognition that the reversal was brought about by the hero 's own actions, excessive pride, and lastly, the character 's fate must be greater than deserved. As a tragedy, Fences includes the death of the protagonist who is brought to ruin because of his own error of judgment. All the while, evoking a sense of pity amongst the audience. Troy …show more content…
To identify Troy as the tragic hero, one must identify his tragic flaw. However, as the play progresses it becomes apparent that Troy is flawed with many things. Myles Weber, author of “Rescuing the Tragic Bully in August Wilson’s Fences”, proclaims that Troy is a thief and murderer in his youth, commits a full array of errors in middle age: He cheats on his wife, he exploits his brain-damaged brother, he covets and then blocks his son’s promising future, he speaks endlessly but doesn’t listen (Weber 673). First, the audience is confronted with Troy’s failure to support Cory. He is blocking his son’s promising future out of pure jealousy. Although Troy proclaims Cory’s inability to make a living with football, this is not his sole purpose for not supporting his son. Troy is unable to celebrate his son’s potential success in football because Troy’s career in baseball ended without acceptance into the major leagues. Rose explains “Times have changed since you was playing baseball, Troy. That was before the war. Times have changed a lot since then.” (1.1.195). Rose is aware of Troy’s doubts, but tries to encourage him that lots of colored boys are playing professional football and baseball nowadays—not just Jackie Robinson. Another flaw includes Troy’s exploitation of his brother, Gabriel. Wounded in World War II, Gabriel receives money for disability, which Troy uses to purchase the house the Maxson’s live in. However, just before the play begins, Gabriel has moved out to live with Ms. Pearl. With Gabriel moving, Troy will no longer get the disability check and fears he will not be able to support his family. However, later in the play Troy has Gabe committed to a mental hospital and again starts receiving half of Gabriel 's check. Although Troy claims it wasn 't about the money, this gesture seems suspicious. Another flaw that Troy tried to hide in the beginning of

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