Tom Robinson Character Analysis
A tragic hero is defined as a person with a heroic trait that causes their own demise. Tom Robinson was one of them. Tom Robinson was from the book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. In this part of the book he was at the forefront of a trial, where it is explained why he was in court. We already knew that he had heroic traits, including bravery (based on the information from the trial), however in order to call him a ‘tragic hero’ we need to decide if he caused his own death. To put it simply, yes, he caused his own death. He attempted to escape jail and entered a white woman’s house being a black man during the 1920s.
There are multiple pieces of evidence to help support this, and to begin with, he tried escaping jail with no thought. As one of the main characters Atticus says: “he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over. Right in front of them--" on page 199 of the book, describing why Tom was killed. Therefore, based on the quote, he had begun to run at the fence of the jail to escape with little to no thought, as the guards could obviously see him. This would provoke them and be the reason why Tom is now dead. In summary, he should not have ever attempted escaping jail in the first place.
In addition, he should not have entered a white woman’s (Mayella’s) house being a black man during the 1920s, which was around when the book takes place. For example, the phrase “when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins” on page 187 shows us the uninformed racism tied to the town everyone lives in. By entering a white woman’s house, he had immediately put himself in danger of being caught. As soon as anything happened, Mayella could blame something bad on him and everyone would agree with her, thus making it near impossible for Tom to stop himself from getting out of jail. Of course, this did definitely happen.
On the other hand, the jury did choose skin color over facts, but that should have been yet another reason for him to not enter the white woman’s house in the first place. Atticus tells us “whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash" on page 188. With this, we can understand that something bad is going to happen no matter what. It was a white man’s word against a black man’s one, so everyone was against him.
So yes, he did essentially cause his death. Besides these two reasons, there are multiple other ways he caused his own demise, including the people going against Tom lying. Even though he stood his ground and was brave, Tom’s foolishness got in the way of his life. There is something you should consider, -Would it have mattered if he did not try escaping jail?