Who Are Some Real-Life Tragic Heroes?

Some real-life tragic heroes in modern times include Princess Diana and Robert Kennedy. Princess Diana was a beloved figure known throughout the world for her genuine kindness to others, sincere devotion to numerous causes, and tireless efforts to end hunger and poverty. Her work to end the use of landmines has had a profound effect on deterring countries from using them.

Her embracing of babies dying from starvation and illness and people infected with the AIDS virus brought awareness and attention to these issues and helped remove prejudices, while reminding the world of its global responsibility to end these epidemics and encouraging others to commit to action. Her generosity, compassion and commitment were truly heroic, but she became a tragic figure toward the end of her life. She appeared fragile and broken after her bitter divorce and the constant harassment by the media, which led to her tragic death.

Robert Kennedy fits the classical profile of the tragic hero. Noble, both in character and of birth, his father was a former ambassador who had achieved great wealth. Two brothers had become heroes and died tragically, one while fighting in World War II and the other assassinated while serving as president of the United States. As a former attorney-general and U.S. senator, Kennedy demonstrated his commitment to helping eradicate poverty by supporting social programs for the poor, eliminating corruption by fighting organized crime, and helping to end racial inequality by working to achieve civil rights legislation and helping black people overcome discrimination. Like the classical tragic hero, a fatal flaw led to his downfall. His desire to do more and his ambition to become president led to his tragic death.