Who Are Some Famous Tragic Heroes?

In Greek mythology, the most famous tragic heroes are Oedipus and Prometheus; however, tragic heroes appear in stories across many mediums. Some of the most famous tragic heroes are characters from Shakespeare plays, such as Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello.

Tragic heroes famously originated in Greek mythology, but their presence in world storytelling is enormous and undeniable. Examples of tragic heroes abound in pop culture, movies, literature and music. Shakespeare created and popularized some of the most famous tragic heroes and gave his tragic heroes “fatal flaws” to correspond to their situations, such as Macbeth’s ambition and Othello’s trust of Iago. In the cases of these tragic heroes, it was their fatal flaws that led to their ultimate, pitiable downfalls.

But modern culture is equally full of tragic heroes. Walter White, protagonist of the AMC TV series “Breaking Bad,” is an almost Shakespearean example of a tragic hero with a fatal flaw: his pride is his undoing. Eddard Stark from “Game of Thrones” is another popular example, as his commitment to honor and nobility comes at too high a price. The Harry Potter universe, with characters like Sirius Black and Severus Snape, provides additional examples of heroes who die pitiable or fearful deaths.