Alexander Hamilton: A Modern Tragic Hero

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While a literary device, tragic heroes also appear in real life. A perfect example of a real life tragic hero is Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury. This modern tragic hero started life as an orphan in poverty, living in the Caribbean, but his elevated character of exceptional literary skills, wit and progressive political ideas eventually landed him a spot as one of the most influential people in the United States. Alexander Hamilton had a positive hamartia, as he refused to remain quiet about the injustices of his country, oblivious to the danger it created for him and his family. The downfall of Hamilton occurred gradually. Because of many of his radical views, he gained a lot of opposition in both the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties, and was forced to resign, yet still remained popular, with a greatly valued opinion (Brookhiser). Hamilton then lost his firstborn son (Phillip) in a duel when Phillip challenged George Eacker to uphold his father’s honor. And yet Hamilton refused to remain quiet and openly opposed Aaron Burr in the election of 1800, and worked against Burr again when the Vice President ran for New York governorship. In an attempt to heal his wounded pride, Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel, and the discredited Alexander Hamilton died the day after. (Foner). However, it is believed that Hamilton intentionally misdirected his shot, showing that he may have recognized his flaw in the end, redeeming himself in the eyes

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