Tragedy and The Tragic Hero Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 July 2016

Tragedy and The Tragic Hero

A tragedy is a story designed to arouse pity or fear in the audience so that upon hearing it, they are cleansed of unsettling emotions which are portrayed in the story. This catharsis is often brought on by hearing of a tragic hero in the story, or a person who is heroic, but is defeated by an error or frailty. In the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer; the true story of a tragic Mt. Everest expedition, the guide Rob Hall was definitely a tragic hero. His courageous efforts helped many of his clients achieve their dreams by reaching the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, Rob paid a tremendous price to do so.

Rob Hall was a very driven and determined person. On the expedition, he was competitive and compelled to get all his clients to the top. In his determination, he became bullheaded in his ways of going about the expedition, which may have seemed good ideas at the time, but later resulted in the overall tragedy. This characteristic in Rob is known as a tragic flaw, or a fundamental character weakness. Rob Hall was an affable, caring person, and he never would intentionally put a person’s life in danger, but climbing a great mountain like Everest can change a person’s logical perspective. Rob became determined and focused on getting all his clients to the summit. This proved to be a major flaw because it affected his judgment of safety, and many people were put in danger as a result.

Throughout the expedition, it became apparent to many climbers that Rob was going to try his hardest to get everyone to the peak. He even bent a few rules to make his clients’ dreams achievable. One such rule was the set turn-around time. Instead of making everyone turn around at the specifically set time, he allowed many of his clients to continue on. This was very brave of him, and in doing so, most of his expedition of climbers was able to reach the “top of the world.” Eventually, though, it turned out to be a very huge mistake when a fierce storm hit the mountain, leaving climbers stranded on or near the summit, fighting for their lives.

When the storm hit, hours past the turnaround time, a few climbers were close enough to the camp to make it back safely. Rob Hall and his fellow climber Doug Hansen were no so fortunate. They were both stranded on the peak and Doug (who was critically weakened from the climb up,) wasn’t nearly in good enough condition to even move on his own. Rob radioed down several times, explaining that he could not get Doug down alone, but no rescue could reach the two stranded climbers.

For hours Rob stayed with Doug, in severe below freezing weather on the peak. When hope began to diminish for Rob’s survival, other members of Rob’s expedition radioed to Rob from camp and told him to leave Doug (who was nearly dead), and try to make it down the mountain on his own. Rob refused. No matter how much danger it put him in, Rob was determined not to give up on trying to save his friend’s life. It was a very courageous and heroic deed that would be remembered for years to come. Sadly, both Rob and Doug lost their lives to the mountain’s bitter cold that night, a very tragic loss that affected many people.

Rob Hall was a courageous and determined person. He was a benign friend to many and a focused and daring guide. Rob’s only flaw was a tragic one, that he was so determined to get his clients to the summit; and that flaw eventually led to his defeat atop the great mountain. His efforts in getting most of his clients up the mountain and keeping them safe were incredibly courageous. By going as far as to put his own life in danger to do so, Rob proved to be truly meritorious beyond measure.

Even after Rob knew all hope was lost for him and Doug on the peak, he was calm when he spoke to his wife one last time. He comforted her, and he named their baby, but he did not in any way blame anyone. He had accepted his fate, as untimely and saddening as it would be. Rob Hall death was a very upsetting conclusion to the tragedy Into Thin Air, leaving anyone who read it with a feeling of inspiration and a bittersweet sadness for that fateful expedition. Rob Hall will be forever remembered as a tragic hero for his brave impact of his last Everest Expedition.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 July 2016

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