The Greeks believed that a tragic hero was chosen to suffer a downfall typically following great success. Many philosophers have defined the characters of such a hero, including Aristotle, Hegel and Nietzsche. Many modern day individuals, including actors, politicians and rock starts can be and have been tragic heroes. Marilyn Monroe, Bill Clinton and Axl Rose each have tragic hero characteristics.
Aristotle’s tragic hero is a person we tend to pity and fear. The hero is one who Marilyn Monroe reflects Aristotle’s elements of tragedy. Marilyn Monroe was “an iconic figure of Hollywood glamour and fashion”. Yet, this was not always so for Norma Jeane Mortenson. In her childhood, Marilyn Monroe’s life was unsettled. She lived with her mentally unstable mother until she remarried, her grandparents until her grandfather committed suicide, then lived in an orphanage by the age of nine. Yet, despite this dysfunctional childhood, Marilyn Monroe rose to fame in the Hollywood industry.
As an adult, Monroe was admired and adored. The movies in which she starred in became successful just as she did. The hero’s flaw arose at this time. Despite her success, Monroe searched for love through three marriages and not finding a happiness and peace within these relationship, was overridden by depression and overcome by an addiction to prescribed medication.
On the sets of movies, Monroe frequently had problems showing up on time and taking too many pills to produce work. The world loved her but she struggled internally. Near the end of her life, she recognized her tragedy when she declared “I am good but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love” . In following each stage of Aristotle’s tragic hero, Marilyn Monroe is a classic replica of Aristotle’s elements of tragedy.
Aristotle’s tragic hero was vested with courage and drive as well as extraordinary gifts or talents. This hero also would, at the highest time of his career, engage in an act that cause a fall from graces. The hero’s motivation was typically spurred on by the arrogance of the hero. Bill Clinton reflects Aristotle’s elements of tragedy.
According to Bio, Bill Clinton was one of the most significant political leaders and his “greatest accomplishment as president was leading the nation to a period of strong economic prosperity”. President Clinton’s flaw arose in his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky, a Whitehouse intern. Not only did this affair effect his personal life, but it had a significant effect on his image as the President of the United States. Due to his actions with Lewinsky, President Clinton faced impeachment as president, and only the second President in the history of the United States to face impeachment.
The Recognition of his flaw did not come quickly for Clinton. Yet, when he did, he did so publicly. Clinton confessed to having an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky in a four-minute speech televised to the nation. Clinton admitted that it was “a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible”. President Clinton’s life represents a lesson that only tragic heroes can represent in their lives. Lessons of honesty and integrity, humility and loyalty are the cornerstones of the tale. President Bill Clinton reflects the elements of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s tragic hero lives to the extreme. This hero has courage and takes substantial risks. Risking all to gain and surpassing limitations are the values of the tragic hero. This hero carries the suffering of the world on himself, and serves as an example. Through his own destruction, this hero readies himself for higher existence. Axl Rose reflects Nietzsche’s elements of tragedy.
Axl Rose was “hailed as one of the most charismatic and successful lead singers of all time” . Other musicians claimed that he was capable of singing “beautiful melodies’ with a tone that was both aggressive and outrageous. As a young child, Rose was abused both sexually and physically. He was diagnosed with manic depression and spend much of his teen years in criminal trouble. Yet, Rose was frequently intoxicated at concerts and often times cancelled shows or showed up late for the performance. At times, riots occurred at his concerts resulting in the band being banned from performance in particular cities. Axl Roses’ band, Guns N Roses disbanded and Rose went into isolation for many years. Rose refused interviews and it was rumored that he had dissipating mental and health conditions. Axl Rose reflects the elements of the hero as explained by Nietzsche.
The Greeks believed that a tragic hero was chosen to suffer a downfall typically following great success. Many philosophers have defined the characters of such a hero, including Aristotle and Nietzsche. Many modern day individuals, including actors, politicians and rock starts can be and have been tragic heroes. Marilyn Monroe, Bill Clinton and Axl Rose each have tragic hero characteristics.
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Bill Cllinton Biography. 2016. Web. Retrieved from <http://www.biography.com/people/bill-clinton-9251236#presidency>.
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Kiely, Kathy and Thomas M. Defrank. President Clinton admits to having inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky in 1998. 18 August 2015. Web. Retrieved from <http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/clinton-admits-relationship-lewinsky-1998-article-1.817191>.
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