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Tragic heroes fail in some large way, so they’re easy to confuse with anti-heroes, who start out as flawed human beings. But the classic anti-hero is a creature of the Comic realm, and the anti-hero can be told from a tragic hero by the fact that s/he starts out as an unlikely candidate for the role of hero and winds up succeeding at it, while for a tragic hero the opposite pattern holds.

The classic comic hero starts out admirable, like Sir Galahad or Wonder-Woman, or at least a likeable underdog, like Peter Parker before he was bitten by that spider, or like Arthur before he pulled the sword out of the stone. The anti-hero starts out more like someone you’d cross the street to avoid, assuming your credit is good.

The anti-hero is motivated by selfish concerns. Lucy, the title-character in that movie, starts out as an ordinary twenty-something just trying to get by in a dog-eat-dog world. The development of her character affirms the divine potential of everyone. In the movie Hero, the protagonist is a down-on-his luck nobody who responds to the heroic call because despite his unseemly ways he can’t prevent himself from helping others when the chips are down. Nobody who knows him, from his ex-wife to his parole officer (except for his son) is willing to believe for a moment that he is a hero. That’s an anti-hero for you.

What is the difference between a tragic hero and an anti-hero? – Quora

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