The Tragic Hero Literary Analysis Essay

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The Tragic Hero Literary Analysis Essay

During the Renaissance, an interest in drama burgeoned from Greece and Rome. The intention of tragedy is to exemplify the sense that human beings are doomed to suffer, fall, or die because of their own flaws, destiny, or fate, and thus allow the audience to experience catharsis, or emotional cleansing. One character usually plays the role of the tragic hero. Aristotle, the Greek Philosopher, defines the tragic hero as having the following characteristics:

  • Is the main character who comes to an unhappy or miserable end

  • Is generally a person of importance in society, such as a king or a queen

  • Exhibits extraordinary abilities but also a tragic flaw – hamartia - a fatal error in judgment or weakness of character that leads directly to his or her downfall

PROMPT: Compose an essay in which you COMPARE/CONTRAST the tragic hero in the novel you are reading with the tragic hero of Macbeth. Demonstrate how both characters portray the characteristics as defined by Aristotle. You must include at least one critical analysis essay found on the library’s databases (GaleNet, EBSCO, etc.) to support your position. Because you are comparing the two works and including critical analysis, you will have a minimum of three sources used and cited in this essay. **An additional opportunity offered, and a way to add depth to your essay, is to include also an analysis of a tragic hero from a film you have studied (not one based on a book – like King Arthur from the film, but based on the film itself). If you choose to add this component to your essay, you will be comparing/contrasting all three pieces; thus, you will be citing four sources.**

ESSAY STRUCTURE: Remember the basics of a good essay will include an attention getter, background information and a thesis in the introduction paragraph. Then, you will have several body paragraphs which will prove your thesis. Body paragraphs begin with a transition and topic sentence and several sentences which support your topic. Supporting sentences will either provide evidence which you must cite or explain and analyze how those examples prove the thesis. End each paragraph with a summary sentence of the paragraph’s topic. Your final paragraph in your essay will be the conclusion paragraph which will again summarize the main topic of your essay and may restate (not repeat) your attention getter in a creative way. The length of this essay should be 4-6 full pages typed PLUS a Works Cited page (the sources used in your essay); in addition, you must include Concrete Details of Summary, Direct Quotes, and a Block Quote. Included also should be an introductory adverb clause, a participle phrase, and at least 3 new vocabulary words you have gleaned from this unit.
WORKS CITED PAGE: Follow guidelines of MLA on Purdue Owl. You will cite the novel, the play, and at least one critical analysis essay from GaleNet, EBSCO, etc.
* Please note, while Citations and Works Cited are only a small portion of your grade, this is RESEARCH-based! If you don’t have Citations and a Works Cited page, you DON’T have a paper!
Please follow these STRICT due dates for the completion of the essay

(absolutely NO LATE WORK will be accepted):

Annotated Bibliography over Critical Essay Due: Thesis/Outline Due:

Rough Draft (quiz grade) Due: Final Paper Due:

Poisonwood Bible

Genesis to Book 3 Judges

Book3 Judges to Book5 Exodus

Book5 Exodus to end


Chap 1-11

Chap 12-19

Chap 20 to end

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Chap 1-6

Chap 7-12

Chap 13 to end

Potential Films (keep in mind, there are rated R films listed here): American History X, Braveheart, Star Wars, Wall Street, Citizen Kane, The Prestige. You may choose a title of your own with my prior approval.

Tragic Hero Literary Analysis Essay Rubric


Points Possible


Introduction paragraph-Does your introduction have an attention getter, background information, and a thesis statement that clearly states what you will be discussing in your essay?

Attention getter – 5 pts..
Background – 5 pts.
Thesis – 10 pts.

Body paragraphs – Does each body paragraph have a topic sentence, supporting examples with explanations and a conclusion sentence? Have you used transition words and ideas to join sentences and paragraphs together? Do body paragraphs tie into the thesis statement and follow outline? Adequate support from definitions, novel, play and critics?

Topic sentence 5 pts.
Specific examples – 10 pts.
Explanation of examples – 10 pts.
Conclusion sentence 5 pts.
Transitions 5 pts.

Conclusion paragraph – Have you restated main ideas of body paragraphs? Given the reader a final though (you might want to look at attention grabber to come full circle)? Do not bring new information into the conclusion

Restatement of main idea from body paragraphs 10 pts.

Final thought 5 pts.

Grammar and MLA format-Cited examples in essay using MLA guidelines? Is a Works Cited page the last page of essay? Margins, spacing, headers correct?
(See MLA guidelines on Purdue’s OWL website for correct documentation.)
Have you checked grammar and spelling?

MLA Citations used in essay – 10 pts.
MLA Works Cited page - 10 pts.

Grammar and spelling – 10 pts.

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