the baron Choices.

A Tragic Hero??

March 6th, 2008 Ariel

Being who I am, I approached Victor Gijsbers The Baron as though it were literature. And, though we discussed many of the elements of traditional plot in class today, we left one topic un-traveled that I wish to cover – is the player-character of the Baron a tragic hero?

Obviously, this is a presumptuous endeavor, because we are working with many stories and not just one. So inevitably, we will have to bend the rules a bit and assume some broader conclusions in the story. However, I think that it can be done.
First of all, because many of us may need a reminder, the traits of a tragic hero are as follows:

TRAGIC HEROES ARE:

  • BORN INTO NOBILITY:
  • RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN FATE
  • ENDOWED WITH A TRAGIC FLAW
  • DOOMED TO MAKE A SERIOUS ERROR IN JUDGEMENT

EVENTUALLY, TRAGIC HEROES

  • FALL FROM GREAT HEIGHTS OR HIGH ESTEEM
  • REALIZE THEY HAVE MADE AN IRREVERSIBLE MISTAKE
  • FACES AND ACCEPTS DEATH WITH HONOR
  • MEET A TRAGIC DEATH

FOR ALL TRAGIC HEROES

  • THE AUDIENCE IS AFFECTED BY PITY and/or FEAR

(http://tttc.org/projects/JZarro2/process2.html)

In The Baron, it is unclear whether or not the player-character (herein after referred to as “Baron”) is born of nobility. However, noble birth is not as important as whether or not he is held in high esteem. In my interpretation, the Baron is held in high esteem, just as most fathers are by their daughters. As a child, Maartje no doubt loved her father. This becomes apparent as the Baron shuffles through the photo-albums and recounts the many joyous times experienced between he and his daughter. The common phrase “daddy’s girl” suggests that fathers are often admired by their little girls.

The Baron’s tragic flaw is his lustful worship for Maartje, and his incident sexual acts with her. His immoral action is freely chosen, and he recognizes it as a shocking desire for which he embodies. However, he continuously acts on this hunger for Maartje, and is therefore; responsible for his own fate. Rape and incest are an act of free-will by the victimizer.

The Barons deed is emotionally irreversible for him, for her, and for the knowing town-folk. Victims of incest and rape suffer irreparable harm. The interactor, observing the mind behind the cruel act, is bound to have some strong feelings towards the actor (i.e. the Baron). Some suggested adjectives are; disgust, repulsion, terror, concern, unease, and discomfort.

Unfortunately, the categories of “tragic death” and “doom by a serious error in judgment” must be deconstructed according to each particular outcome. They apply differently on a case by case. However, when playing the game, ask yourself this, “Does the outcome for the Baron exceed the immoral deed?” If the answer is yes, then you have met the requirements under the tragic hero framework.

The Baron can not be definitively titled a “tragic hero.” However, given the fact that everyone in the class did experience some type of “catharsis” at the conclusion of the narrative, I would not completely delete the idea.

Entry Filed under: Game Log

1 Comment

  • 1. Professor Sample  |  March 7th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    The father/Baron as a tragic figure is a very provocative idea, and I think you’re onto something here. This line of thinking gets us outside of the story itself and calls attention to The Baron’s use of intertextuality, its awareness of its place among the other texts of the world.

    The tragic figure is an archetype. And who is the most archetypal tragic figure of them all? Oedipus the King. And what was Oedipus’ greatest crime? Incest.

    Oedipus killed his father as well, of course, but what brought the plague upon Thebes was Oedipus sleeping with his own mother. This makes me wonder: in what ways could we read The Baron as some sort of inversion of Oedipus the King?


HNRS 353:002 (Spring 2008)

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