The Most Famous Tragic Hero: Exploring Renowned Figures of Tragedy

Choose the tragic hero you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 16, 2024 07:20
Step right into the world of heart-wrenching tales and unforgettable characters as we bring you a riveting ranking of the most famous tragic heroes of all time. StrawPoll invites you to cast your vote and have your say in determining the ultimate tragic hero who has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. From Shakespeare's Hamlet to Victor Hugo's Jean Valjean, immerse yourself in the poignant journeys of these iconic figures, and help us crown the ultimate symbol of sacrifice, bravery, and tragedy. Can't find your favorite among our list? Fret not! Suggest your preferred tragic hero and let the world know about their inspiring story. Join us now and be a part of this enthralling quest to unveil the most captivating tragic hero ever!

Who Is the Most Famous Tragic Hero?

  1. 1
    Oedipus is considered by many to be the quintessential tragic hero, Oedipus is a character from Greek mythology who unwittingly fulfills a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother. His downfall is brought about by his own hubris and determination to uncover the truth at any cost.
  2. 2
    Shakespeare's famous play centers around the tragic hero Hamlet, who is haunted by the ghost of his murdered father and driven to madness by his desire for revenge. His indecisiveness and inability to take action ultimately lead to his downfall.
    Hamlet is one of the most challenging roles in theatre and literature. It is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, featuring the complex character of Prince Hamlet.
    • Genre: Tragedy
    • Year of Publication: 1603
    • Setting: Elsinore, Denmark
    • Number of Acts: 5
    • Length: Approximately 4 hours
  3. 3
    Macbeth is another Shakespearean tragic hero, Macbeth is a Scottish nobleman who becomes consumed by his ambition for power and ultimately falls victim to his own greed and paranoia.
    Macbeth is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare in the early 17th century. It follows the story of Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman who becomes consumed by his ambition for power. As he rises to the throne, Macbeth is haunted by guilt and paranoia, leading to his ultimate downfall.
    • Genre: Tragedy
    • Setting: Scotland
    • Main Themes: Ambition, Guilt, Betrayal
    • Protagonist: Macbeth
    • Antagonist: Macbeth's own ambition
  4. 4
    King Lear
    William Dyce · Public domain
    King Lear is this Shakespearean play tells the story of an aging king who makes a series of disastrous decisions that lead to the loss of his kingdom, his family, and ultimately his sanity.
    King Lear in other rankings
  5. 5

    Willy Loman

    Arthur Miller
    Willy Loman is the protagonist of Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is a disillusioned salesman who becomes consumed by his failure to achieve the American Dream. His tragic flaw is his inability to accept reality and his refusal to let go of his illusions.
    Willy Loman is a complex and challenging role in the play 'Death of a Salesman'.
    • Character: Willy Loman
    • Play: Death of a Salesman
    • Complexity: High
    • Emotional range: Wide
    • Psychological depth: Intense
    Willy Loman in other rankings
  6. 6
    Julius Caesar
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain

    Julius Caesar

    William Shakespeare
    Julius Caesar - while not the protagonist of Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar is perhaps the most famous tragic figure in the story. His arrogance and disregard for the warnings of others ultimately lead to his assassination and the downfall of the Roman Republic.
    Julius Caesar is a tragedy play written by William Shakespeare. It portrays the conspiracy against and assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar, as well as its aftermath. The play explores themes of power, loyalty, friendship, betrayal, and the consequences of political ambition.
    • Genre: Tragedy
    • Date of Composition: 1599-1600
    • Setting: Ancient Rome
    • Number of Acts: 5
    • Protagonist: Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar in other rankings
  7. 7
    Antigone is the titular character of Sophocles' play, Antigone is a young woman who defies the orders of her uncle, the king, and buries her brother despite the risk of punishment. Her unwavering commitment to her beliefs ultimately leads to her tragic demise.
  8. 8
    Okonkwo is the protagonist of Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is a proud and stubborn warrior who struggles to adapt to the changes brought about by colonialism in Nigeria. His tragic flaw is his rigid adherence to traditional values and his inability to see the value in compromise.
  9. 9
    Jay Gatsby is the protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a mysterious and wealthy man who is obsessed with recapturing the love of his former flame, Daisy Buchanan. His tragic flaw is his inability to let go of the past and his misguided belief that money and social status can buy happiness.
    Jay Gatsby in other rankings
  10. 10
    Faust is the protagonist of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play, Faust is a scholar who makes a deal with the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. His tragic flaw is his insatiable thirst for knowledge and experience, which ultimately leads to his destruction.

Missing your favorite tragic hero?


Ranking factors for famous tragic hero

  1. Cultural Impact
    How widely recognized is the tragic hero in various cultures and societies? Have their stories influenced literature, theater, or other forms of art?
  2. Timelessness
    Has the tragic hero maintained relevance and popularity throughout different time periods? Are they still studied and discussed in the present day?
  3. Depth of Character
    Does the tragic hero possess complex and multifaceted characteristics? Are they relatable and do they undergo a significant internal journey throughout their story?
  4. Tragic Flaw
    What is the central flaw in the tragic hero's character that leads to their downfall? Is it universally recognized and understood?
  5. Emotional Resonance
    How effectively does the tragic hero evoke empathy and evoke emotions in the audience? Can their story evoke feelings of pity, fear, and catharsis?
  6. Influence on Literature and Drama
    Has the tragic hero inspired other notable characters or storylines? Have they become an archetype for tragic heroes in future works?
  7. Enduring Popularity
    How enduring is the tragic hero's popularity? Have they remained relevant and celebrated over an extended period of time?
  8. Adaptations and Interpretations
    How many adaptations and interpretations of the tragic hero's story have been produced? Have these adaptations contributed to their fame and recognition?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous tragic hero. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or protagonist is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 181 votes
  • 10 ranked items

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Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each protagonist once every 24 hours. The rank of each protagonist is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous tragic hero

Tragic heroes have been a prominent figure in literature and entertainment for centuries. These characters are often portrayed as individuals with great potential and admirable qualities, but a fatal flaw ultimately leads to their downfall. The concept of a tragic hero originated in ancient Greek theater, with figures such as Oedipus and Antigone serving as prime examples. However, tragic heroes have since become a staple in literature, film, and television across cultures and time periods. From Hamlet to Walter White, tragic heroes continue to captivate audiences with their complex and flawed personalities. In this poll, we aim to determine who is the most famous tragic hero of all time.

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