Randi Francis English II Final Paper December 11, 2001 Malcolm X and The Shakespearean Tragic heroes Aristotle defines a tragic hero “as good but flawed, must be aristocratic, must be believable, and must behave consistently.” -Aristotle. The Muslim leader Malcolm X can be compared to such tragic heroes such as Othello and Hamlet. Malcolm’s life and his personality have similar traits from both of the famous Shakespearean heroes. In this paper we will look deeper into the life of Malcolm X and find the similarities between him and the tragic heroes, also we will prove that Malcom X can also be referred to as one of the great tragic heroes. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. He grew up in the streets of Boston and New York where he was known as “Red.” Malcolm became what most young black youths with no direction became “lost.” He became a thief, a hustler, Drug dealer as well as user.
He was going down a one way street the wrong way. Malcolm was unstoppable!” I was a true hustler – uneducated, unskilled at anything honorable, and I considered myself nervy and cunning enough to live by my wits, exploiting any prey that presented itself I would risk just about anything. Right now, in every big city ghetto, tens of thousands of yesterdays and today’s school drop outs are keeping body and soul together by some form of hustling in the same way I did And they inevitably move into more and more, worse and worse, illegality and immorality. Full time hustlers never can relax to appraise what they are doing and where they are bound.
The Essay on The Analysis of “Loser-hero”, “Tragic loser-hero” and “Failed loyalist hero” Archetypes in Japanese Literature
... characteristics and actions. There are three archetypes: loser-hero, tragic loser-hero, and failed loyalist hero, with almost all warriors discussed in the book ... , the only difference between a loser-hero and a tragic loser-hero is that a tragic loser-hero’s defeat is the result of a ... particularly special in that he is a loser-hero but not a tragic loser-hero, as the two are very similar and easily ...
As is the case in any jungle, the hustler’s – every waking hour is lived with both the practical and the subconscious knowledge that if he ever relaxes, if he ever slows down, the other hungry, restless foxes, ferrets, wolves, and vultures out there with him won’t hesitate to make him their prey. (Autobiography, pp. 109-110) Until his reckless ways landed him in prison. For a while Malcolm was still “lost” he couldn’t wait till he was released so he could start up again where he had been abruptly stopped. At 21 Malcolm was sentenced to prison for 8 to 10 years. Malcolm had become angry with everybody cursing out all that came into his view he even cursed out God.
Which ultimately gave him another name “Satan” which he was called by fellow prisoners and guards alike. In prison is where Malcolm met Bimbi a brother of Islam and also a convict. Bimbi introduced along with frequent correspondence with his brothers and sisters the history and the thinking of the Nation of Islam. All of them urged Malcolm to write to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. Although he did write he felt embarrassed because he had poor grammar and could not articulate his thoughts efficiently.
Malcolm had emerged himself in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and began to try to “teach” others what he was still learning. “I soon began writing to people I had known in the hustling world, such as Sammy the Pimp, John Hughes, the gambling house owner, the thief Jump steady, and several dope peddlers” (Autobio p. 173).
After an incident where his brother was suspended from the Nation for immoral behavior Malcolm had begun to doubt the teachings of the Nation of Islam. To Malcolm they ” re had to be some misunderstanding because his brother introduced the nation to him. That night Malcolm had a vision of a man and that morning he had received a letter from Mr.
Muhammad telling him if he didn’t believe now he had never believed that statement alone renewed his faith in the Nation and he rejected his brother. Malcolm was released on parole and he made his way to Detroit where he began working at a furniture store and became a member of the Temple. Malcolm became restless with the recruiting efforts of the Temple and upon his first meeting with Mr. Muhammad Malcolm voiced his opinions about recruiting and he agreed appointing him minister of the Temple of Detroit. This is when Malcolm begins to take on the role of the tragic hero.
... take down many characters in Othello. Iago remains the embodiment of evil in Othello, never changing his selfish ... will speak word” (V. ii. 11). Iago has driven Othello to his downfall, yet he has no ... ’s light” (I. iii. 336-341). Iago notices Othello’s character and acts on his weaknesses, showing ... hatred. At first, it seems Iago is only jealous of Othello because he has chosen Cassio for lieutenant ...
It is in this part of Malcolm’s life that one of his tragic flaws becomes apparent. To understand the phrase “tragic flaw” we can take it as Aristotle had stated it “The tragic flaw is the most important part of the hero and the events that occur in the work is a reflection of that flaw.” – Aristotle. So just as in the case of Othello, Malcolm’s tragic flaw is gullibility. Many people because of their personal magnetism respect both these men. Malcolm is highly respected by many because of his ability to get results and by the way he is able to gain followers with his rhetoric. Othello is revered because of his awesome military genius.
Malcolm and Othello both have very high self-confidence, which is shown by the way Malcolm argues beliefs and in the way Othello justifies his marriage to Desdemona. Since both Othello and Malcolm X came from humble and unsophisticated beginnings their judgment was somewhat hindered. In the play Othello Iago one of the main characters sees this in Othello ‘the Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so.’ (1: 3: 55: 442-443).
Iago knew of Othello’s weakness. He also knew Othello’s innocence and baseness makes him susceptible to being undermined by people. Othello is clearly a person who believes appearances versus reality.
The role of Iago in Othello’s life can be compared to the role of Elijah Muhammad in Malcolm’s life. Malcolm and Othello base their reactions and decisions solely on the advice of the one who ultimately brings about their end. In Othello case he doesn’t even question Iago about his knowledge of the “affair” between Casio and Desdemona. Othello doesn’t realize that Iago is plotting against him with every word he says and Othello trusts him completely. The situation between Mr. Muhammad and Malcolm is a little different but still similar.
... that the Prophets influence was that of a revolutionary man. Muhammad revolutionized upon important issues such as women's rights, ... that the Prophets influence was that of a revolutionary man. Muhammad revolutionized upon important issues such as women's rights, ... religion is still growing today. The prophet Muhammad was a revolutionary man. His revolution existed and succeeded during his time ...
When Malcolm writes Mr. Muhammad a letter stating his disappointment in the way he treated his brother Mr. Muhammad writes back: “If you once believed in the truth, and now you are beginning to doubt the truth, you didn’t believe the truth in the first place. What could make you doubt the truth other than your own weak self?” (Autobio. p 190).
By making Malcolm think he was weak by doubting his new found faith Mr.
Muhammad knew that Malcolm would only delve into the faith deeper and become more oblivious to other things. Two other people that have a great effect on Othello and Malcolm’s life are Emilia Iago’s wife and Betty Malcolm’s wife. Although both of their words of wisdom, caution, and truth fell on deaf ears it gives us a glimpse on how “blind” both these men actually were. Emilia assured Othello that Desdemona loved only him and that he was being lead in the wrong direction even as Othello called Desdemona a whore and defiled her name Emilia tried to assure him it was all a lie. Just as with Malcolm and Betty, Betty although she herself was a devout Muslim she began to see the nation for what it truly was.
Malcolm was featured less and less in the paper that he founded until he was blacked out completely. Malcolm’s second Tragic flaw is as Hamlet’s, which is indecisiveness/ procrastination. Malcolm had become a major figure in the Black Muslim Movement he was their main promoter and speaker. Malcolm preached what he was taught always giving credit to Mr. Muhammad:” Elijah Muhammad spoke of how in this wilderness of North America, for centuries the ‘blue-eyed devil white man’ had brainwashed the ‘so-called Negro.’ He told us how, as one result, the Black man in America was mentally, morally and spiritually dead.’ Elijah Muhammad spoke of how the Black man was the Original Man, who had been kidnapped from his homeland and stripped of his language, his culture, his family structure, his family name, until the Black man in America did not even realize who he was.
... had a well-deserved end. In “The Man in the Black Suit,” the Devil approached an innocent child ... ” by Washington Irving, and “The Man in the Black Suit” by Stephen King. Both suggest that ... remembers the Devil’s face, the man who wore a black suit that approached him that day. The ... regret on the bargain he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to ...
He told us, and showed us, how his teachings of the true knowledge of ourselves would lift up the Black man from the bottom of the white man’s society and place the Black man back where he had begun, at the top of civilization.” (Autobio, p 199) When Malcolm began to realize that many of his brothers were becoming jealous of his media publicity, he just pushed the thought out of his mind. “I put them out of my mind. I am not trying to make myself seem right or noble. I am telling the truth.
I loved the nation, and Mr. Muhammad. I lived for the nation, and for Mr. Muhammad” (Autobio.
p 299) This kind of hesitation is also apparent in Hamlet’s character. An example is when Hamlet sees Claudius praying and he settles on killing him but then he decides to leave him because he doesn’t quite know the truth. In several of Hamlet’s speeches he discloses many flaws in his character to the readers throughout the play. One of Hamlet’s traits is his over-analysis of conversational topics and situations in which action must be taken. This is a major flaw in his character. In Hamlet’s speech in act three, scene three he reveals himself to be an over-analytical man when he is about to kill Claudius, stops and says, ” And so he goes to heaven” (III, 3, 74).
Not only is Hamlet an over-analytical character but he is also a procrastinator and this is demonstrated many times in the play. He knows that he must kill Claudius but he postpones when he says, ‘Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge’ (III, 3, 79).
Hamlet also procrastinates in act two-scene two, line 594 when he convinces himself that his plan to add lines to the play and watch Claudius’ reaction, rather than completing his task, is the best plan of action. Although in the end he postpones the murder of Claudius, ” like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of [his] cause” (II, 2, 576) Malcolm is just as much of an over-analyzer as Hamlet.
Malcolm over-analyzed the situation between him and although he knew that he would eventually die he didn’t know it would be at the hands of some of his own brethren. Malcolm became a member of the religion Islam to begin his own movement powered by his own words and by not confronting the nation he had doomed himself. Also just as Othello he did not realize his own mistakes till it was too late. Leading himself to an untimely death, that is why he is our tragic hero.
... novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Everyone has dreams, and the characters in the novel ... African-American in his lifetime. A final character whose ambitions are never achieved is Candy. ... anyone, even to his lifelong companion. Another character whose dreams are ruined is Crooks. Crooks is ... of broken dreams reoccurs in this novel through many characters, such as Lennie, George, Candy and Crooks ...