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"Scarlett O'hara: Tragic Hero?" This Essay Proves That Scarlett O'hara From Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With The Wind" Is A Tragic Hero According To Aristotle

1224 words - 5 pages

Scarlett O'Hara: Tragic Hero?According to Aristotle, there are three common occurrences in the lives of all tragic heroes. The classic tragic hero of Aristotelian poetics is of noble derivation and nature. The fatal flaw which is usually hubris, or pride, commonly precipitates a catastrophic downfall (Greenberg par.1). Lastly, a humbled recognition of his flaw, and a reversal of fortune must occur. Scarlett O'Hara, from Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, exhibits all the qualities of a tragic hero as defined by the famous playwright Aristotle.The first characteristic of all tragic heroes is nobility. Scarlett O'Hara was born the daughter of a wealthy and successful plantation owner in ...view middle of the document...

Using these criterion, it has been shown that Scarlett can be placed into the noble and wealthy schema.Scarlett O'Hara had many tragic flaws, but the central flaw that led to her ultimate downfall was hubris. Her pride, which had adverse effects, caused her to lie, steal, cheat, and manipulate. She was willing to use these traits of hers to gain the things she desired, no matter the cost. When Jonas Wilkerson and Emmie Slattery, previously lower class people, tried to buy Tara after the war, Scarlett felt that she was too good to sell her home to people that she considered trash. This pride made her willing to do anything to raise the money to pay the taxes on Tara. She was even willing to stoop low enough to charm her own sister Suellen's beau Frank Kennedy into marrying her so that she could use his money to save Tara (Kelly, par. 3).Scarlett was not only prideful, but selfish as well. "...she could never endure any conversation of which she was not the chief subject." (Mitchell 5) She could not stand seeing a man give affections to anyone besides her, and strived to be in the center of attention all the time. "She was constitutionally unable to endure any man being in love with any woman other than herself...." (Mitchell 14).When Scarlett wanted something that was unattainable, she grew very jealous. When she found out that Ashley Wilkes, the man she believed that she loved, was to be married to Melanie Hamilton, she grew incredibly envious. "Pain twisted Scarlett's heart. She felt she could claw Melanie's ivory skin until the blood ran and take pleasure in doing it." (Mitchell 103). Her intense jealousy often led to bouts of anger and rage. This caused her to act irrationally many times when she needed to think with a cool, clear head (Den Breejen, par. 1). These flaws lead to Scarlett's ultimate downfall.At the end of the novel, Scarlett's good fortune is changed almost at once. After years of feeling hatred and envy for Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett finally sees that sweet, kind Melanie is her only friend, the only person there to support her in times of need. Sadly, she does not realize this until Melanie has died, leaving Scarlett only with her final words....

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