I love teaching. It’s something about connecting writing and literary concepts to everyday life that makes me ecstatic. When I was still in the classroom, one of my favorite concepts to teach was that of a tragic hero. (Prepare for a quick lesson.) 🙂

A tragic hero is a larger than life figure who displays four specific characteristics. He or she:

  • possesses importance or high rank
  • exhibits extraordinary talents
  • displays a tragic flaw, which is an error in judgment or defect in character that leads to a downfall, and
  • faces that downfall with courage and dignity.

Numerous tragic heroes exist in literature. Odysseus (The Odyssey), Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar), and Okonkwo (Things Fall Apart) are three of my favorites. But innumerable tragic heroes can also be found in popular culture. I’ve used both Bill Clinton and Michael Vick to illustrate modern-day tragic heroes in my classroom, but my favorite example will always be Da Kang himself, T.I. I was reminded why Sunday morning when I awoke to video footage of Diddy and T.I.’s club fiasco (see video below).

Don’t get me wrong, T.I. acted maturely and appropriately when checking Diddy’s foolishness in Compound nightclub; however, it was immensely disappointing to find T.I. caught up in a situation that could have sent him back to prison when he’d been out of federal custody for less than 72 hours. How could T.I. find himself in this position? The answer’s simple: his tragic flaw.

T.I. possesses a tragic flaw that’s extremely common in literature. Odysseus, Julius Caesar and Okonkwo all possessed the same flaw. The Greeks called this flaw hubris; we refer to it simply as pride.

Hubris or pride isn’t a foreign concept to T.I. He described himself as a “young, pompous, arrogant, son of a b*t@$” on his debut album, I’m Serious. And often, this pride, along with his charisma and southern charm, has worked in his favor. I mean really, who else could’ve referred to themselves as the King of the South on their debut album and not caught hell. His natural confidence has undoubtedly created the star we all know and love. But this same pride has led him into some extremely difficult situations.

What else would cause a felony to stock pile an arsenal like Tip did? What else would lead a man on probation to publicly get caught with drugs? What else would make a man straight out of federal lock up think it was ok for his first stop to be a nightclub during the EBT Awards (pun intended)? I can only come up with two answers: pride and stupidity, and I refuse to believe a man of T.I.’s intelligence would do any of this out of stupidity.

In my opinion, which I am entitled to and you can not change, (had to add that before the hate mail came), the problem is not how T.I. handled the combustible situation, but the fact that he was arrogant enough to think he could go to a location as unstable as a nightclub and control the environment. I am, and will always be, a ride or die T.I. fan. I just hope he doesn’t allow the confidence that makes him so sexy become the downfall that gets him locked up again.