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Badge icon "Tragedy (1553)" provided by Karl Turner, from The Noun Project under Creative Commons - Attribution (CC BY 3.0)

In order to acquire this badge students must demonstrate a thorough understanding in the form and application of the Tragic Hero from one of three periods of world literature. These are:

  • Classical – e.g. Sophocles, Aeschylus
  • Early Modern/Jacobean – e.g. Shakespeare, Marlowe
  • Modern – e.g. Miller, Williams

Students may unlock this badge in a written, spoken or dramatic mode. They are required to show that they have grasped the aspects of a tragic hero which make him or her unique (opposed to, say, a great comic or epic hero). The successful piece of work will address at least three of the following fivecategories.

  • Tragic Flaw – the student is able to demonstrate and give examples of how what makes this character admirable is also what ultimately destroys them. The student may, for example, perform a soliloquy and then give a workshop where he is able to explain the character’s flawed nature in great detail.
  • Doomed – tragic heroes are ultimately unable to escape their fate, a fact that was particularly relevant for the Greeks, although it cuts across all three time periods. The student may, for example, write an essay where he shows that at various points of the play the tragic end is foreshadowed.
  • Moral Dilemma – tragic heroes often find themselves divided between different sets of values. For example, Macbeth is called upon to be loyal to his wife and to his king. The student’s work should demonstrate a thorough understanding of this.
  • Nobility – A tragic hero is often a king or member of the nobility. It is true that Modern Tragedies do not do this so often. Nevertheless, something of the hero’s character is usually admirable, however “bad” they are said to be.
  • Catharsis – The “stimulation of pity and terror”. In what way does the audience experience these feelings in conjunction through coming to know the character? In what ways does the playwright create suspense as well as sorrow?

Formal Requirements

  • Students must be able to give evidence in some form from a text or texts they have read during their schooling.
  • Analysis of the precise meaning of texts should be provided.
  • The mode of presentation should be appropriate and sustained, with evidence of substantial preparation – it is possible that this badge will therefore be awarded with another badge from one of the other three categories (Speaking and Listening, Writing and Drama).
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