The Tragic Hero of the Modern Period: A Comparative Study of the African and the European Concepts

Appendages, tragic traditions, anti-hero, tragedy, dual personality, pessimism


  • Asuamah Adade-Yeboah Senior Lecturer of Language & English Literature, & Head, Department of Communication Studies, Christian Service University College, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Edward Owusu
    Senior Lecturer of English Language, Department of Communication Studies, & Acting Director, Quality Assurance and Academic Planning Directorate, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
December 31, 2019


It is very clear that there is a foundation for cultural dimensions in modern tragedy. This is because the tragic hero differs from culture to culture in the modern society. As a result of this, it is crucial to point out that whereas the modern tragic hero in the Western culture is an anti-hero, in cultures such as, Asia and Africa, the tragic hero holds unto some traits of the Greek heroic figure. This paper, therefore, fulfills an identified need to study these two tragic traditions by juxtaposing the appendages of the traits of the Greek classical tragic hero in the African concept alongside with the unique personal characteristics of the European concept to present a new hero, whose personal lack of order does not present a deviation from the system, but confirms a dislocation in the system itself (Adade-Yeboah & Owusu, 2013a). The study provides extracts from the works of Beckett’s, Miller, Achebe and Rotmi as supporting texts to present the two tragic traditions in the two modern periods.

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