Defining a Hero: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch’s Heroism Essay Paper

Published: 2021-09-11 04:05:10
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Category: To Kill A Mockingbird

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The definition of a hero is varied and intricate. While there are certain types of gallantry such as selfless gallantry. or other machismo bravado this paper will seek to happen a definition to the specific gallantry as exhibited in Harper Lee’s character Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. A treatment of the definition of hero harmonizing to literary footings ( as defined by the Greeks. Aristotle and Plato – particularly utilizing his doctrine on morality ) will be used to put up the paper in order to detect what makes Atticus Finch a authoritative hero.
Such issues as racism and courage against bias will strongly back up this thesis claim. The thought of gallantry in the signifier of a literary character has its roots with Grecian play. This play expressed heroes as holding a major defect. It was this defect which at one time destroyed them but besides allowed them to be human and hence be able to be labeled as heroes. In happening this definition them the readers of Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird must see what odds are against Atticus Finch and what flaws or defect he has in his character that allow him to be a human hero.
Aristotle’s definition for a hero is one who is non in control of his ain destiny. but alternatively is ruled by the Gods in one manner or another – in the instance of Atticus Finch his destiny and the destiny of his test is determined by the jury. It is so the jury who exhibit control over Finch’s destiny and the destiny of his client. Although Atticus is a hero of Lee’s narrative. he must be considered a tragic hero for his courage is met by resistance and it is this resistance that finally wins the conflict of justness versus bias in Harper Lee’s novel.
The tragic hero for Aristotle is tragic because of their deficiency of control or will in the face of their preset hereafter and ruin – a preset hereafter which is good established in the dogmatism of the jurymans in the tribunal instance scenes whereby Atticus is shown to be a hero every bit good as demoing his ultimate ruin in the jury convicting Tom Robinson of colza. A great tragic defect ( tragic flaw ) is the hero’s Satan may care attitude at the beginning of each narrative. and so their despondence and stagnancy of hope that meets them at the terminal of the drama.
This is shown with Atticus’ belief that justness will predominate in the courtroom and his disclosure of Mayella Ewell doing sexual base on ballss toward Tom and her drunken male parent Bob Ewell catching her in the act. Thus. hope seems to be lost for the hero. Therefore. although Atticus Finch may be defined as a hero his gallantry character traits in the novel still is marked by failure. While Atticus is defined as a hero. his gallantry is determined by subjective narrative.
Harper Lee tells his narrative through the voice of Scout. Atticus’ girl. hence. the idealism with which a girl has for their male parent is already in drama in finding the character traits of gallantry in Atticus Finch ( this can be strongly seen when Scout fights the other childs at the resort area for naming her male parent a ‘nigger lover’ ) . Although there is a sincere sum of idealism in drama in the novel in respects to Scout’s point of view of her male parent. there are other elements of the narrative which assistance in specifying Atticus’ gallantry.
In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird racism is omnipresent with the immature civilization in the town. Just as Atticus is a attorney in the book. Scout the storyteller and kid depicts the scene of racism so. “My fists were clenched I was ready to do fly. Cecil Jacobs had announced the twenty-four hours before that Scout Finch’s dada defended niggas. ” Though Scout continually defends Atticus on the resort area and in other parts of town. the racialist comments do non halt. Even Scout’s cousin Francis is overpoweringly supplied with racialist comments. “At a safe distance her called. `He’s nothin’ but a nigger-lover’ . ”
In Scout’s defence of her male parent the reader is already subjected to her point of view on Atticus being a hero – and a hero is made that much grander when they are up against the evil bulk of a town and they have the support of their household. It is possibly both of these elements ; that of traveling against the odds and of Scout’s unquestionable devotedness to her father’s cause. that make Atticus Finch a hero. It is in racism. and the world of that bias that the full town’s lives are changed. and the political sphere of the courtroom shows itself as discriminatory.
It is against this charge of favoritism that Atticus may be defined as a hero. and it is besides his failure against this bias that makes him a tragic hero. Modern literature juxtaposes a character’s dwindling religion in themselves and world. Atticus’ world is that he is seeking to salvage a individual in a town wherein they are already found guilty by the colour of their tegument. There are elements of justness and happening the truth beneath the pretense of dogmatism that play a major portion in support of Atticus’ being a hero.
His firm chase of justness against these odds is what chiefly finds him out to go a hero non in his son’s vision of a male parent ( in that subjective point of view ) but in a more cosmopolitan definition: Heroism through moral judgement. In authoritative Grecian play. Plato’s thought of morality is presented as rational action. Morality isn’t a free will that governs humanity’s actions. but instead it is cosmopolitan ground ( life as a whole ) that dictates action. therefore in is found Atticus’ gallantry.
In his moral judgement in supporting Tom Robinson and even traveling against a lynch rabble in his chase of that justness create in Lee’s narrative a dynamic force of this moral world. In Atticus’ is awakened the sense of racial gallantry. as Crespino states “In the 20th century. To Kill a Mockingbird is likely the most widely read book covering with race in America. and its supporter. Atticus Finch. the most abiding fictional image of racial gallantry. ” ( Crespino 9 ) .
It is possibly this one chase that most clearly defines the type of gallantry found in Atticus Finch’s character. that of a searcher and of a tragic hero. It is in his morality that such a definition can most compactly be expounded. Human nature is a nature of ground. non purely adherent to passion or feelings. but instead to a higher naming – it is this higher naming in which readers find Atticus’ gallantry. his morality despite an inauspicious world. Morality so. becomes the Southern Cross of happening gallantry in Harper Lee’s novel.
Morality is ground. This is non to state that Plato and other authoritative Grecian authors were ascetic ; instead they placed passion. and feelings in their dramas but the moralss of humanity being tied into the good of a individual. Being virtuous. or good leads a character to felicity or release at the terminal of a narrative. but it is this deficiency of release that allows Atticus’ specific type of gallantry to be. He goes into the tribunal instance contending for Tom’s artlessness with full cognition of what his resistance is in that town.
The word for this given by Plato is endaemonism. which means blissful and it is the deficiency of this endaemonism that makes Atticus such a contact and memorable literary character. Atticus was a adult male filled with religion in human nature ; an optimist/realist of some kinds. Plato’s doctrine of human nature making immorality was that a individual merely does evil in ignorance. for he believed everyone. merely as himself wants merely what is good. which is Atticus’ attitude in the novel and the quality that makes him a great attorney is non a hero.
In modern literature. the lesson is non about escape but coming to footings with life and doing a cardinal pick. a moral pick. Choices can be broken down into good and evil in modern literature in specifying a hero. or to be more exact they can be dichotomized into heroic and a province of yielding to one’s ain humanity. The tragic hero may witness evil workss and be in a changeless province of exposure to them. but in the terminal of a novel. virtuousness is heeded.
The beginning of a character making evil or good is brought about by limitless desire. Something that goes unmitigated becomes possessive of that individual and they in bend want. and want. without repletion which is what Mayella’s character exhibits. This is when the appetitive portion of the psyche ( the portion of the psyche that wants sex. nutrient. etc. ) overtakes the rational ( portion seeking truth. and ground ) of the psyche ensuing in moral failing or akrasia – it is a failing that does non belong to the character traits of Atticus Finch.
By giving Atticus such moral aberrant characters as Mayella and her male parent. Lee is doing Atticus’ gallantry that much more marked. It is non so self-interest that leads a individual to happiness. and there is a definite equilibrium between the allowance of each portion of the psyche guided by ground. and asceticism. Atticus was a non a Sophist. Without the counsel of moral ground so a province of pandemonium would result implying an everyman for himself type of attitude which is what the rabble in the narrative renders.
Therefore. felicity in the novel can merely be achieved when that hedonic attitude is vanquished which occurs when Bob Ewell “falls on his ain knife” . This scene helps in doing Atticus lupus erythematosus of a tragic hero and more of an selfless hero. Morality must be shown as adhering to single involvements. Plato did non hold with the type of hedonism exhibited by the Sophists. who thought human nature was an extension of the carnal universe. Alternatively. Plato provinces that the nature of adult male is ground ; and in this ground exists an organized society constructed by ground.
This expresses Atticus’ ain point of view in the narrative. In understanding this point of view and accepting that Atticus strived for ground. that kernel of a attorney to demand justness when there is no shadow of a uncertainty for a man’s artlessness. the reader can break understand the drift behind Atticus’ moral actions. Happiness for the rational adult male in modern literature so comes into fruition by regulating their more base. animate being. desires. which are irrational ; it is with Atticus that such provinces of humanity are more compactly defined.
This morality is extended into the kingdom of society because of human interaction. Therefore. if a adult male is to be the pinnacle of ground. and morality. and felicity. so the society that he lives and associates must so besides exhibit such a moral moderation. This is the religion by which Atticus bases his lawyer’s statement. If so a society is blinded by hedonism. or pure desire of ego. a adult male in that society has no hope for personal felicity because of deficiency of morality. ground. and therefore to the full yielding to akrasia as can be seen in Atticus and particularly Tom’s lives.
The construct of good and evil twined together is the elixir of the modern novel ; authors breed frights from dreams. the concealed wants of subconscious become known through their character’s actions. Writing and reading novels is a disclosure into that unexpressed aspect of the head ; the deaf-and-dumb person original eventually is given voice. and in a manner bears witness by both being involved in the action and relation of the narrative. It is no admiration that attorneies today base their ain judgement on that of Atticus’ ( a fictional character ) moral judgement and determination devising.
In the sphere of gallantry. when a character becomes the footing of existent life people’s morality. so the position of a hero is cemented. Modern literature is the truth of life and ego reflected through dramas and characters. Realism is the spirits by which Harper Lee is exemplified. In pragmatism. the author is saying that fortunes are the focal point of human eventualities. This is particularly true for Lee’s Atticus Finch. In this downtrodden representation of everyman the audience is presented with life at its full bare province. a hero whose conflict is lost.
That is the promise of modern literature ; veracity. despite the overpowering depression of life and its misrepresentation toward everyman. Writers are honest in their authorship. and in modern literature pragmatism and non epic criterions of Grecian play but the Achilles heel is what is depicted. Whether or non the fresh terminals on a happy or sad note. the point is pick – despite Atticus being a tragic hero his strength remains in lodging to that pick. Modern literature gives the audience no semblances about rough world. but it besides gives the difference between destiny and circumstance and makes a hero.

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