Traits of a Flawed/Anti Hero

We know them, we love them, sometimes we shouldn’t, but we still do.  Making an Anti/ Flawed/ Tragic hero isn’t something that’s easy though and I have come across a few that seem to forget certain traits that are needed for the hero not to just be a douche bag and villain.

What Is an Anti-Hero or Flawed Hero?  

A flawed/anti/ or tragic hero is really for the most part what it sounds like:  The protagonist that has “good” intentions but a personality flaw that inhibits or prevents him from carrying out the goal that he/she has in front of them in the story.  However, this character MUST have virtues so that the reader/ watcher can relate and feel for this (This is the thing that I see people forget.  You don’t want your character just to be a plain old asshole and still have him be a flawed hero).  A flawed hero a be jaded, mean, pathetic or just plain jerks. But they must gain the sympathy of the audience with heroic strength, intentions or strength.

Aristotle (Who put this archetype into words) contests that the tragic hero has to be a man “who is not eminently good and just, whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.” He is not making the hero entirely good in which he can do no wrong but rather has the hero committing an injury or a great wrong leading to his misfortune

List of character flaws

List of bad habits

List of Virtues

Effective characteristics of a Flawed hero/ Flawed hero story line:  

Noble Stature

One must have a lofty position to “fall” from

Tragic Flaw

The tragic hero must “fall” due to some flaw in his own personality

Free Choice

There must be an element of choice in order for there to be a true tragedy.

The Punishment Exceeds the Crime

The audience must not be left feeling that the hero got what he deserved

Hero has Increased Awareness

The tragic hero come to some sort of understanding of what went wrong or of what was really going on before he comes to his end

Produces Catharsis in Audience

Catharsis is a feeling of “emotional purgation” that an audience feels after witnessing the plight of a tragic hero

Contemporary Examples of Flawed/ Tragic/ Anti-Hero: 

  • Batman
  • V (V is for Vendetta)
  • Queen Elsa (Frozen)
  • Iron Man
  • Neil Caffrey (What Collar)
  • House (House MD)
  • Louis (Interview with a Vampire)
  • Anakin Skywalker (Star wars)
  • Sirius Black (Harry Potter)
  • Wolverine (X-men)

At the core of this, I would like to mainly remind people that when a flawed hero/ Tragic hero is Created it must be THEIR personality flaw that is their downfall/ viCe.  Not the rest of the world.  

2 thoughts on “Traits of a Flawed/Anti Hero

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