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Tragic Hero

In: English and Literature

Submitted By blaine
Words 474
Pages 2
Something tragic happens in everyone’s life. In some cases, it is predetermined what their fate will be, and in others, tragedy ensues as a product of their environment. In the case of Oedipus, his tragedy could not be stopped because it was predetermined what was going to happen to him before his birth. But in the case of Bartleby, his tragedy ensued because he was a mere product of his environment. An oracle told Laios and Iokaste, Oedipus’s parents, that their first born son would kill his father and marry his mother. Terrified that the oracle was right, when Iokaste had Oedipus, she sent him away to be murdered. But fate played a major part in their lives and Oedipus’s life was spared. He ended up killing a man where three roads meet, which later on he found out to be his birth father, Laios. Oedipus also saved Thebes from the wrath of a sphinx, and therefore became king and wed the widow Iokaste, who he later found out is his birth mother. As the result of finding out that the oracle could not be changed and that fate can not be beaten, Iokaste hanged herself, and upon hearing all this horrible news, Oedipus scratched himself blind with broaches and banished himself from Thebes. In the case of Bartleby, time and situations molded him into a very sad and monotonous man. Working as a Scrivener in a Law Copyist office, Bartleby seemed like he was the perfect worker. Even though he kept to himself, there were no major apparent flaws within him. Things started to change once his boss asked him to perform regular tasks pertaining to his job that we begin to see how disturbed Bartleby really is. His frequently given answer, “I would prefer not to” was his passive aggressive way of putting his foot down. Then we learn that Bartleby eats very little and has decided to take up residence at his job. Once Bartleby’s work effort dwindles down to absolutely nothing, his boss is forced to fire him. When Bartleby repeatedly refuses to leave, his boss moves his company into another building. The new tenants of Bartleby’s “home” aren’t happy to see him there, and when he refuses to leave, the have him arrested. While in jail, Bartleby decides that he is not going to eat and he therefore dies.
Bartleby’s case of tragic hero is completely different from Oedipus’s in the sense that Bartleby could have had a better outlook on things if he wasn’t treated the way he was by the people in his life. Therefore, I think that Bartleby is a product of his environment. While as Oedipus’s case shows that fate cannot be beaten or overruled, only dealt with as it was meant to happen.

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