The Metamorphosis of the Tragic Hero - The Greek Classical and Post-Classical Renaissance in Contention
Just as tragic heroes and heroines have been identified with different eras and cultures, the classical ideal of the classical and post-classical Renaissance will be incomplete if the concept of tragedy is not focalized. This paper, therefore, looks at how both periods delineated their tragic heroes, based on their actions portrayed in the plots of their plays. The paper, using textual analysis, provides extracts from William Shakespeare's King Lear, as the main text to present King Lear as the post-classical tragic hero. This is juxtaposed with extracts from Sophocles’ King Oedipus, as the main text, and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris, as a hero supporting text to present Oedipus as the classical hero. Whereas textual analysis shows that the delineation of the tragic hero lies in the source of the tragic situation – the concept of hamartia of the classical period, the post-classical Renaissance period portrays the tragic hero on the basis of the weakness of character.