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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Anti-Heroes in English Literature
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0311  Wednesday, 4 February 2004

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Feb 2004 13:25:24 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature

[2]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Feb 2004 00:41:00 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Feb 2004 13:25:24 -0800
Subject: 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature

I'm not sure that Tamburlaine quite fits, at least not using Cuddon's
definition of "a type who is incompetent, unlucky, tactless, clumsy,
cack-handed, stupid, buffoonish".

If we are talking about a Marlovian hero, then Shakespeare's Richard III
seems a decent parallel.

Yours,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Feb 2004 00:41:00 -0000
Subject: 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0295 Anti-Heroes in English Literature

Dear All

Am I missing something here or are not Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear,
Shylock , Othello, Troilus / Ulysses, etc all ANTI- Heroes in that they
do not represent simple moral correctness (for want of a better
expression) and are mostly tragic - which virtually by definition
qualifies them as anti-heroes (here read Dryden on 'fear and pity').

Moreover: Jonson's Alchemist and Volpone surely qualify not to mention
most of Nashe's characters (not a good straight moral rectitude amongst
em thank god) and of course anyone in Webster or Middleton's tragedies
(let us not here forget Kyd).

In fact I struggle to find many straight-forward Elizabethan 'heroes'.

We didn't need Nietzche to understand Rabelais or Shakespeare to read
Chaucer or critical theory to know that life is complex.

For later anti-hero types I recommend:  Tristam Shandy, Sveik, not to
mention real life characters such as perhaps Isaac Babel, or in a
different world, Hemingway or the late great Henry Miller.

Incidentally, only a crude anti-Miltonic mis-reading of Paradise Lost
could ever consider Satan a hero of any kind.

Yours in Violence,
Marcus.

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