John Coffey

the Green Mile's tragic hero

Six Qualities of a Tragic Hero

1. The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness. The character embodies nobility and virtue as part of his personality.

2. The hero is imperfect

3.His downfall is cased by some error in judgement like his tragic flaw or hamartia.

4. The hero's misfortune/ punishment is not fully deserved

5. His fall is not a pure loss

6.Though the ending is sad,the tragedy of the hero is not so depressing for the audience at the end

So Why is John a Tragic Hero?

1. Even though he was not born of nobility, John Coffey had extraordinary psychic and physical powers. For example: he could see what others had done or show others what he had seen through his psychic abilities and he could heal sicknesses from others or perhaps even kill with that same sickness, therefore making him greater than most people.But John was a kind and noble man that saved others from terminal illnesses, not a serial killer who abused his power, this is what made him a hero.

2. John Coffey's imperfections was his inability to express himself fully (he was very shy) and the color of his skin since he was black.

3. John was sentenced to death mostly because of the color of his skin, his tragic flaw.

4. John didn't deserve to be on death row or be executed at the end because he didn't commit the murder of the two girls.

5. Even though John dies, his death is not a pure loss since Paul Edgecomb gains a little of John's powers as does John's pet mouse, Mr. Jingles, causing them to live very long lives. Also his death (or prior) he had revealed to Paul the true killer.

6. Though John's death was very depressing, the ending of his story brightened a little as the audience comes to accept that the officers who knew John, like Paul, knew that John was innocent;and that as Paul lives on to be a very old man, the memory of John being the good, innocent person he was still survived after he was gone and that he would never be forgotten.

Quote Showing Proof that John was Indeed a Tragic Hero

Paul: On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?
John: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?
Paul: Yes, John. I think I can.

Citations and Other stuff

Website for quote citation. Videos from you tube taken from the Green Mile, I don't own any of the video usage.