Why is Phaedra a tragic hero?

Although Phaedra doesn’t meet the standards of a typical heroine status of the story, she has however achieved the status of a tragic heroine. Albeit the moral weakness of the character of Phaedra and the penchant of punishing her morally corrupt actions, it is inevitable to accept her as a tragic heroine. Doubtlessly the storyline indicates that the underlying reason behind the tragedy of Phaedra was her undying and irrevocable love for his step son. And she alone cannot be incriminated for her actions that led her towards her impending doom.

First and foremost the reason that blesses Phaedra with the tragic status is her hereditary curse which doomed her to fall in love with someone she oughtn’t i.e. her stepson. Throughout the play, a number of occasions demonstrate her helplessness in controlling her feelings thus showing that she wasn’t to be blamed for all rather there were some other forces acting that left her with no control of her own. In addition to that her husband’s sexual exploits and inability to sate her desires played a very significant role in pushing Phaedra to look for comfort elsewhere. It can be coaxed from the play that Phaedra desired to remain faithful to her husband however his constant philandering drove her further apart from him and to her stepson in the stead.

A classic tragedy entails the characters to struggle with their own self needs and the social norms and ethics in addition to the judgment errors that lead to tragic endings of those characters. The character of Phaedra meets all these requirements head on in that she constantly struggles with her desires for her stepson and tries to contain her urges. Moreover she feels remorse for the events caused by her misgivings and ending her regretful actions by taking her own life makes her a perfect fit for a tragic hero.

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