The Role of Tragic Heroes in Latin American Literature
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WORLD LITERATURE ASSIGNMENT 1 ENGLISH A1 HIGHER LEVEL To what extent can Esteban Trueba from House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende and the Vicario Twins from Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, be considered as Tragic Heroes? Name: Christina Sophonpanich Date: 18th October 2007 Word Count: 1496 Candidate number: 000198043 Traditionally, tragic heroes begin as perfectly good characters who suffer a change in fortune from happiness to misery due to a mistaken act, which he performs due to his overwhelming natural flaw. An example of this is excessive pride, which overwhelms the tragic hero's conscience, hence leading him to violate or ignore a moral law. The tragic hero evokes our pity because he is not thoroughly evil and his misfortune is greater than he deserves. This essay aims to compare and contrast the characters of Esteban Trueba from The House of the Spirits, and Pedro and Pablo Vicario, from Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and explore to what extent these characters can be classified as heroes in a tragic drama. From our very first impressions of the young Esteban, we are shown an ambitious and intelligent man, whose harsh childhood and tragedy of his fiancée's death, Rosa the Beautiful, imprints bitterness early on in his life.
This ultimately leads to his gradual moral Candidate number: 000198043 deterioration and leaves him utterly alone, and as the story reaches its conclusion, we see that events have turned out justly as Esteban is punished by his own grief and solitude as a direct result of his wrong behavior, and in this he becomes redeemed in our eyes for finally understanding his mistakes. For his redemption lies in his regret and penitence, and in his relinquishment of power and acknowledgement of his failure, "He was not crying because he had lost power. He was crying for his country4," thus confirming his role as a tragic hero. In the Columbian town where the narrative of Chronicle of a Death Foretold unfolds, honor is taken with utmost severity, and all the characters in the novel are seen to be strongly influenced by this ultimate ideal, and it is the preservation of this ideal that becomes directly accountable for the murder of Santiago Nasar. For the revelation of their sister's soiled virginity causes dishonor within the family and in order to clear Angela's name and restore the family honor, Pedro and Pablo Vicario take upon them the duty of killing their friend, Santiago, the alleged perpetrator of Angela's virginity.
For the Various twins, albeit playing an essential role in a tragedy, cannot entirely be reconciled at tragic heroes as they lack the overwhelming personal character flaw and single obsessive drive to fulfill their ambitions, as seen in they way they secretly actually wish to be prevented from carrying out the murder. Esteban, on the other hand, shows true traits of the traditional tragic hero as his character undergoes dynamic transformations from a pitiful boy struggling for survival through a harsh childhood, to a steady deterioration in morality as his fatal character flaws become ever more salient, and finally to a state of realization and acknowledgement of his mistakes and bad actions, as he realizes that his obsession for self-aggrandizement, his violent temper and his unyielding pride comes back to haunt and overwhelm him. And it is in his last days as a withered and shriveled old man that he is redeemed in our eyes as he repents for his mistakes, and comes to terms with his losses, as well as his attempts to reconcile with his daughter and past, that ultimately mark him as the tragic hero of Allende's The House of the Spirits.
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