Character Analysis Of The Tragic Hero In Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

Better Essays
In Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton depicts Ethan as a tragic hero who gets downtrodden by his circumstances and mainly, his personality. He has the tragic flaw of not being willing to put anyone in pain even if he benefits from it. Through this, he gets blocked from pursuing an education when he must care for his ill parents. Consequently, he also doesn’t get to socialize with other people of his age, making him feel awfully lonely. To further his tragic predicament, he marries Zeena, his cousin who arrives to take care of his mother and unfortunately, she prevents him from pursuing his love for nature and engineering by wanting to stay in Starkfield forever for her own ego. She just turns into a sickly and nagging wife, a complete disaster for Ethan who expected her to be youthful and…show more content…
As a result, his relationships with Mattie and Zeena worsen with him being the one getting the full brunt of the negative effects all because of his decision to try and end both his and Mattie’s lives. The plight of Ethan evokes pity in the audience because even with his strength, intelligence, and affinity towards nature, he remains thoroughly unsatisfied in both of his relationships because of him showing genuine care for everyone. Ethan is a tragic hero because Wharton exhibits his fatal flaw of selflessness as the cause for fixating him in tragic circumstances, and making them go downhill, all the while generating sympathy for him. Through his desire to keep everyone away from unnecessary pain, Ethan evolves as a tragic hero by involving himself in situations that make it hard for him to escape such as his relationships. First of all, he chooses to take care of his parents himself which prevents him from pursuing an education and keeps him socially isolated. He has no time to “loiter” in the village and the “loneliness” in his
Get Access