Humanities Essay

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Tragic heroes, for all the appearances of internal and outward weaknesses and their consequences, are exemplars of the noble dimensions of the human spirit. Such are the protagonists Hamlet and Phaedra in the plays with their names as respective titles. These noble aspects manifest in their soliloquies, declarations and conversations and even brought to light by their decisions and choices.


To be responsible to truth is to encounter it/respond to it for what it is. Hamlet first manifested it in his adamant refusal to shed the outward trappings of mourning against the protestation of his uncle king and queen mother, who wanted him to express the jubilation of their new marriage. Stubborn as he is in his fidelity and sense of responsibility towards his deceased king father, he insisted in the truth of "that within which passeth show" (Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene II). As for Phaedra, when pressed by Oeneoneas to the cause of her depression, she made a simple acknowledgement of the truth raging within her: "I feel all the furies of desire". (Racine, Act 1 Scene III). No matter how fearsome the truth is, she shrinks not in acknowledging and recognizing its potent poison. Both of them yielded to the power of this truth but differ in the manner of their response. Hamlet refused to hide the truth; Phaedra chose to languish in secret till she could bear no more to hide the truth.
To be responsible to truth is to act so that that the truth comes to light, no matter what the price. ...
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