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Writng Tragic heroes:
How can write effective tragic heroes without devolving into wangst territory even if it falls into YMMV? Also, why aren't there more tragic heroes nowadays like Devilman or Oedipus?
Have them be to arrogant for their own good.Not heeding warnings to stop whatever action is taking them in the wrong direction.Keep them moving and doing stuff, while still taking the time to describe things in slight detail to distract from the maudlin aspects of the story.Also...and I can't stress this enough- let them have a sense of humor.
"Relax, they're just bullets whizzing by...they can't kill you."~Kale Ingram
Well a tragic hero doesn't necessarily have to be angsty. In the most memorable cases, the very thing that makes a hero tragic is the same thing that makes us root for him or sympathize with him. Take your classic revenge plot, for example. On the one hand, it is the hero's obsession with getting back at the people who wronged him that sets the stage for the most tragic parts of the story — often he neglects or even actively hurts the people he loves, is blind to the destruction he causes in his quest for revenge, etc. Yet it's exactly this obsession that endears us to that hero, because who on earth DOESN'T want to get some retributive payback once in a while? I'd recommend playing up that juxtaposition for the best effect in a tragic hero. Remember that tragic doesn't just mean sad — it has a certain inevitability to it. It's the way the hero spirals towards a destiny that is all the more heart breaking because you almost can't help but see it coming, because his flaws and his virtues are so intrinsic to one another as to be inseparable. So, yes, while tragic heroism is *sad* by nature, there's a lot of non-angsty ways to explore it. Pride, anger, even more positive traits like selflessness (Spider-Man could be called a tragic hero, for example, as his desire to protect people often keeps him from having meaningful relationships with those close to him, or even causes them harm) can all be key traits to a tragic hero, it's all a matter of careful plotting and character development.
edited 18th Oct '10 8:27:41 PM by TheBadinator
It's OK to give a Tragic Hero angst, but it should be overshadowed by other flaws. Lelouch of Code Geass is arguably a tragic hero. He succeeds, but at a horrific cost. And he certainly has angst, much of it the result of his own actions, but it's handled as having a Heroic BSOD every other episode, and then walking away from the angst, smug in his confidence as Chess Master. Oedipus is perhaps the quintessential Tragic Hero. Devilman is a different sort of Tragic Hero in the manga vs the anime, but I see your implication: There are the more common sort of Tragic Hero who is literally brought down by his own flaws and had every opportunity to avoid his fate, and thus despite the audience's sympathy in some sense deserves what they get, and the rarer Tragic Hero who heroically resists fate but is ultimately helpless against it. Spider-Man certainly falls into the latter category. edit: spelling.
edited 19th Oct '10 2:07:35 PM by FrodoGoofballCoTV
A Tragic Hero is one whose downfall follows directly from their own actions, due to some sort of character flaw. Said flaw could really be anything, although usually it's Pride, Avarice or both. You could have a Wangsty Tragic Hero - such as a guy so convinced that everyone hates him that he rejects anyone who might be nice to him - but it's not necessary or even usual.
edited 19th Oct '10 9:00:06 AM by Ettina
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MaelstromAnd it's interesting: the tragic flaw can be a virtue, instead. Selflessness, as said above, is one of the best "Tragic Virtues". I have one character whose death is directly caused by his selflessness, though he does sort of know that he's causing his own downfall.
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