The Characteristics Of Antiheroes And Tragic Heros

2480 Words 10 Pages
Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, Harry Potter’s Severus Snape, and Neuromancer’s Henry Case all share something in common—they are antiheroes. Merriam-Webster’s definition of an antihero is, “a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities” (Merriam-Webster). While that is the ‘dictionary definition,’ many authors have taken liberties in describing which “heroic qualities” are missing, and which traits are used instead (Merriam-Webster). Through a variety of works, authors portray the anti-hero as an unconventional protagonist who is lonesome and unorthodox, and who uses these characteristics to overcome obstacles, rather than succumb to them. Jessica Page Morrell, a writer for Writer’s Digest, depicts …show more content…
For instance, although both Case and Holden live, Snape follows the course of a true tragic hero and dies. Additionally, due to their introverted characteristics, many well-known tragic heroes, like Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, fit the criteria to be antiheroes, too, according to The Guardian’s Michelle Pauli (Pauli). Amy Leonard, an English Professor for De Anza College, gives a simple description of antiheroes, calling them “obnoxious,” “pitiful,” “awkward,” and “passive” (Leonard). She also adds on, saying that antiheroes “display more humanity than a regular Hero,” and that they “may try to do what is right by using questionable means” (Leonard). Tragic heroes, though, are often associated with being “nearly perfect,” except for one “hamartia” that leads to their downfall …show more content…
One reason why antiheroes are becoming more prominent in different media, such as comics and television shows, is that because of their flawed traits, they are more relatable to the audience, since Jessica Page Morrell states that antiheroes “have the reader’s sympathies” (Morrell). Relevant Magazine’s Jonathan Michael agrees, and says that the audience hopes to see the antihero, “eventually turn it around through some kind of redemptive act” (Michael). Michael augments this sentiment by saying that in the end, there is almost always an internal conflict in the antihero between redemption and consequence. He puts it best in writing, “Perhaps it’s the darkness that reels us in, because we relate to the darkness. But even so, we hope for the light”

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