Vincent Van Gogh's Tragic Hero

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In a tragedy, the protagonist is the author’s representation of the destructive flaws of the human race. The tragic hero, usually the protagonist, brings about his own suffering because of his character flaws. At the same time, the loss of faith in humanity by the audience is often restored by the redeeming qualities shown after the his defeat. Three main theories of the tragic hero are the Aristotelian model, the Shakespearean model, and the modern tragic hero. Each model has five defining characteristics, which are nobility, hamartia, downfall, anagnorisis, and suffering. In the Shakespearean mode of tragedy, the play Romeo and Juliet best models the tragic hero. For instance, nobility is characterized by being upper class and having elevated…show more content…
Instead, Van Gogh eventually gained the Shakespearean elevated character through his beautiful works of art. Throughout his early life Van Gogh wasn’t popular and “was able to sell only one painting before he died”(1). He completed “more than 2,100 works, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors drawings and sketches”(4). Van Gogh’s brother Theo tried to sell his artwork for the duration of his life but was always turned down. Shortly after Van Gogh’s suicide, Theo also died of syphilis, and correspondingly, the hope of Van Gogh gaining recognition vanished (4). Moreover, many of his paintings were either destroyed or lost when he died. It is even noted that Van Gogh’s own mother had thrown away “crates full of his art” for reasons unknown (4). However, Theo’s wife, Johanna, adored her brother in law’s art and collected as many pieces as she could when he died (4). In 1901, 71 of Van Gogh’s best works were put on display for a Paris show, and almost 11 years after his death, his fame skyrocketed (4). Today, Van Gogh is revered as one of the greatest Dutch artists to live. Although he spent his early life unappreciated, Van Gogh attained the Shakespearean “nobility” through his magnificent paintings, drawings, and sketches he left behind after his
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