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Rand al Thor, tragic hero?


Southpaw89
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Would Rand be considered a tragic hero? If so what makes him so? Obviously we know his story is a tragic one but that doesn't necessarily make someone a tragic hero by the ancient Greek drama terms. What do u guys think?

 

Lews Therin was certainly a tragic hero in the classical sense. And since Rand and Lews Therin are the same person...

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Rands arc I think WAS a tragic hero case because for so long he wanted to live yet "knew" he would die, and through his dedication to fighting the Shadow he became pretty dark himself. The new phase though, he has truly accepted his fate so I think he has removed most of the tragedy. Which, ironically, I think is a tragedy in and of itself.

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I never understood why people jumped to the conclusion that Rand 'must die' and I still don't. That he will 'bleed' on the slopes of Shayol Ghul doesn't mean death. How many of us have ever bled without dying?

 

Not saying that he won't die, but to use that part of the books to prove that he will die has always been a bridge too far for me. Bleeding doesn't automatically mean dying.

 

In a way every hero is a bit tragic. They usually don't choose the life they're leading but are almost always pushed to it by some event or other. Those 'seeking' heroism usually never achieve it either because they act from a personal objective instead of doing what must be done regardless what they want. If every hero story has something in common it seems like it's always that the person doesn't look for it. The Hunters of the Horn are a good example of this. Not one of them truly becomes a hero (and yes, that includes Miss Fail). Their intent if fame and glory for themselves, which defeats the nature of a true hero. So the two are by definition mutually exclusive.

 

The level of tragedy can change though. I don't think Rand will suffer the same level of tragedy Lews Therin did. Rand will not kill his entire family and friends through madness, he won't commit suicide to escape his pain and he won't leave the world to a horde of madmen. He may very well leave his own devastation, but it won't be the same as Lews'.

 

Who can say whether one thing is more tragic than another? Unless you're personally involved in the situation, I don't believe any of us can make that judgement.

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Guest PiotrekS

I understand the tragic hero in classical sense is a person who is doomed by fate irrespective of his actions or, in other words, is put in an irresolvable situation. The fate of tragic hero can be called "gods' playground", because as in Greek mythology, gods like to play with the lives of men.

 

Examples that spring to mind are of coure Oedipus and from the fantasy clasic, Túrin Turambar (in turn based on the Finnish myth). There is also a tragic element involved in the end of the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo saves the world and the Shire but can't enjoy his life there and has to leave because "some wounds can never heal completely". It is thought-provoking how many similar traits and reflections appear in so many different stories about tragic fate of heroes.

 

LTT was definitely a tragic hero. He had no way to escape unharmed from the situation he was in - he could have either allowed the DO to win, abdicating his responsibility as the leader of Light, or do what he did and which involved a terrible price he hadn't known he and the world would have to pay. What can be more tragic than killing everybody you love in madness and then realising what one has done?

 

As to Rand, we will have to read and find out whether he is a tragic hero in the above sense or not. I definitely hope not and we have a lot of reasons to believe he might be able to escape his own personal tragedy - responsability for the whole world lies on his shoulders, but to fulfil it, he had to give away any hope of having a life, family, love and life after TG. Now he changed - maybe he now believes he might survive?

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To some extent all "heroes" are tragic. Very few believe they merit the title. Most are granted honors for political reasons rather than for their own actions.

 

With that backdrop they can't be anything but tragic.

 

Do a quick check of all the men who have been awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor. Then look at how many of them became alcoholics.

 

War makes men see and do things they never imagined. Nobody who has served is ever the same afterwords. Those who are most lauded for their service have the hardest time adjusting to their fame and how they are treated in relation to others.

 

No matter how the series ends, Rand will indeed be a tragic hero.

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yeah but remember, we KNOW he's a tragic character because of his fate. But that doesn't necessarily mean he's a tragic hero. A tragic hero means he has a tragic flaw such as Achilles did in The Iliad. His personal flaw was his pride.

 

achilles was the only true warrior in the illiad, he was motivated away from his own goals based on the death of petrochlus.

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Lews Therin was certainly a tragic hero in the classical sense. And since Rand and Lews Therin are the same person...

I agree on Lews Therin, and he has the obvious tragic flaw of pride.

 

I don't see that it applies to Rand though. Rand is a different life that's going to end differently. Rand is going to die, but I expect he'll die gloriously, not tragically.

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