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"Eman the tragic hero"
Eman the tragic hero
Cinthia De Ruiz
Hanging from a tree limb in the first rays of the sun, Eman's body sways to and fro, carrying with his soul the sins of the village. Eman had all the traits of a tragic hero, including his own tragic flaw. It wasn't that Eman had excessive pride, or that he was greedy, it was that Eman did not know enough, and was too kind. He did not know the responsibilities that came with being the Carrier for a village, as it varied from the village where he was raised. This lack of knowledge and his kindness to the young Ifada, caused Eman to hang.

There are several traits to a tragic hero, one being that the "hero" accepts his fate by free choice. When Oroge and Jaguna come to take Ifada as the carrier, Eman notices he is obviously not willing, and the carriers from his village have all been the strongest and most willing candidates. Eman believes that the rituals will not work, if in fact the carrier is not strong and willing. He says to Jaguna, when they try to take Ifada " A village which cannot produce its own carrier contains no men." (Soyinka 1280). So Eman takes Ifada's place as the carrier, in a roundabout way sealing his own fate.

In the Strong Breed the consequences that Eman suffers for being the carrier exceeds his flaw of being only a stranger to Sumna's village. A stranger must be taken to be the carrier for the village, and Eman is a perfect candidate. The play ends with the audience feeling that Eman was wrongfully hung, and it is this injustice that makes him a tragic hero. Had Eman been a native to the village, or had he simply let Ifada taken the burden of being the carrier, Eman...

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