• He must be a person of some stature or high position such as a king, general, or nobleman.
  • He must be a good person. He must matter to us and we must see him as a worthwhile person.
  • Because of his position, his actions usually have far-reaching effects.
  • He must possess a character trait or quality which under normal circumstances would be a virtue, but under the special circumstances of the play proves to be a fatal flaw (hamartia- the tragic flaw that leads to his downfall).
  • He usually makes further errors in judgment following his misdeed.
  • Often he has a distorted perception of or is blind to, reality.
  • He suffers both outwardly (isolation, alienation, attacks) and inwardly (tortured conscience).
  • He must elicit both pity and fear from the audience (catharsis).
  • Usually, he recognizes his mistakes in the end.
  • He must die
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. Othello, the main character of play Othello by William Shakespeare can be considered a true tragic hero. As he confirms to all qualities of traflgic hero as well as having the tragic flaw which ultimately leads to his downfall.

  2. The character which i think fits all these traits is Macbeth; he has his tragic flaw of ambition, suffers both outwardly with his whole country turning against him, and inwardly with his tortured conscience – ‘o ful of scorpions is my mind’

    • II would disagree. I would say Brutus is the Tragic hero, not Caesar. Remember the tragic hero is the main character and he dies at the end, not in the middle. Also, something that wasn’t mentioned is that often the Tragic hero, at least in Shakespeare, takes his own life at the very end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment