Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is the imitation of an action that is and also,as having magnitude, complete in itself. It incorporates incidents arousing pity and fear wherewith to accomplishment the catharsis of such emotions. In the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare Romeo is the most obvious tragic hero in the play because he evokes both our pity and terror and is neither bad or evil. A tragic hero is born into high nobility, responsible for their own fate, endowed with a tragic flaw, and doomed to make a serious error in judgement.
Romeo is born into high nobility because he is a Montague. The Montagues are one of the most wealthiest families in Verona, where the story takes place. The Montague’s sworn enemies are the Capulets. “ Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny.”(Prologue.1-3).
Romeo is also a tragic hero because of his flaw,which is being impulsive. Being impulsive means you think before you act. Romeo shows his flaw many times. One for going to the Capulets party. Another time for falling in love with Juliet when an hour before he was devastated that Roseline wouldn’t return her love. Most importantly killing Tybalt. By killing Tybalt Romeo was sentenced to banishment. Romeo killing Tybalt lead to his banishment because Prince Escalus said,”If you ever disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.”(1.1.82-83). Romeo disobeyed the Prince after Tybalt killed Mercutio, and out of anger Romeo killed Tybalt.
What also makes Romeo a tragic hero is the major decision prompted by his flaw that causes his downfall. The major decision was going to the Capulets party. By Romeo not going to the party Tybalt would never have gotten mad at Romeo and asked to fight. Since Romeo did not want to fight after he married Juliet his best friend Mercutio chose to fight Tybalt, which resulted in Mercutio’s death. Romeo because of his impulsive behavior out of anger killed Tybalt leading to his banishment. This catastrophe of his banishment later resulted in worst situations.By Romeo being sent to Mantua he is not able to recieve a letter from Friar John that explained Juliets plan to fake her death because she does not want to marry Paris a kingsmen. Instead of Romeo getting the news from Friar John and not having to worry Romeo gets the news from Balthazar and believes Juliet is dead. His impulsive behavior drives him to go all the way to Verona to see Juliet.
To be a tragic hero you also have to face Death with honor. Romeo faces death with honor when he sees Juliet and decides to be with her and drinks the poison. Romeo also faces death with honor because he causes many more deaths along the story like Tybalt, Paris, himself, Juliet and lady Capulet.
Romeo is a tragic hero because he evokes our pity and terror and is neither good or evil. Romeo is born into high nobility because he is a Montague. His flaw is that he is impulsive. A major decision that caused his downfall is going to the Capulets party. His downfall is getting banished because he killed Tybalt. Lastly he accepts death with honor.