A tragic hero (Shakespeare for the modern age)

So my S4 were given this as a starter for ten in their CEL (Critical Evaluation of Literature)

“In order for a character to be considered a tragic hero, some basic criteria need to be met. First, he must come from a noble background. This is true of Macbeth, who distinguishes himself in battle before he even makes his first appearance on stage. Macbeth’s valor causes King Duncan to exclaim of him: “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” (1.2.26).

Second, a tragic hero must suffer a tragic flaw. Macbeth’s is his ambition. This is exemplified in Act I, scene 4, when Macbeth contemplates murdering King Duncan: “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

Finally, a tragic hero must undergo a tragedy. Macbeth certainly does; he suffers the loss of his wife, his ill gotten kingdom, and his life. The totality of his downfall is clear in his last words, found in Act V, scene 8:

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield! Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”

I then told my class to find examples of tragic heroes and write an essay about them but substituting their hero/villian for MacBeth. The best essay and the one that got the KitKat?

Darth Vader from Star Wars.

Think about it, he fulfills ALL the above and more! Other suggestions included Michael Coreolone from The Godfather, various Harry Potter characters including Harry himself AND Draco Malfoy. Any more?

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