Ethan Frome: A Tragic Hero

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Tragedy befalls the misunderstood all throughout the history of literature most famously Julius Caesar, Antigone, and Ethan Frome(although his more lightly). Edith Wharton’s character Ethan Frome is a loving, strong willed, passionate man who, because of these same characteristics, becomes crippled. He was in love with the character Mattie but because of his marital status and many other reasons it made it impossible for them to show affection. He was the tragic hero similar to that of Sophocles’ concept of those destined to fail. His untimely accident could be foreshadowed by the situation he and Mattie were placed in, the passion and recklessness in which he acts upon. To begin with, Ethan is introduced after the narrator finds…show more content…
He concocts a plan to collect a payment from one of the townsfolk, but as he trudges toward the man, Andrew Hale, Hale’s wife praises Ethan for being such a caring husband to his sick wife and Ethan dismisses himself and goes home with nothing but a guilty conscience. Ethan gets home and tells a reluctant Zeena that he will take Mattie to the station for her to leave. In a fit of passion he takes Mattie on another route on they’ve been on before and as they walk they come to hill. The two decide to sled down the hill in a reckless attempt to satisfy an adventure they had in mind, and after the first ride down the hill Mattie makes a suggestion. She tells Ethan to sled down the hill again but this time “Right into the big elm…….. So’t we’d never have to leave each other anymore”(p.g. 90). Ethan was skeptical and called her crazy but in his reckless passion he warmed up to the idea they sledded down and so they collided with the elm crippling Ethan for life. In conclusion, misfortune befell Ethan Frome a misunderstood hero who was reckless, as heroes tend to be. Although he committed adultery he did so because he was unhappy and all he wanted was to be in love and to be with the girl of his dreams. Just as Caesar was called a ruthless dictator by some and a man of the people by others Ethan can be portrayed as a man in search of happiness or a fiend and adulter
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