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Biography of Ernest Hemingway

The Greek tragedy heroic ideal is dualistic in that we have the Greek classic ideal of Plato, but this ideal is not the ideal of the tragic hero as embodied in Hemingway. It is an escape into an ideal, the pursuit of the Hemingway apprentice who has not yet learned there is no escaping nor a place to which one might escape. Instead, the Hemingway hero is a realist who toughs it out through sheer human will (and a little sex and alcohol on the side), much like the heroic in Thucydides. As Nietzsche notes in regard to the difference between the Thucydids heroic ideal and the Platonic heroic ideal, “Thucydides…the unconditional will not to gull oneself and to see reason in reality—not in ‘reason,’ still less in ‘morality.’ Thucydides: the great sum, the last revelation of that strong, severe, hard factuality which was instinctive with the older Hellenes. In the end, it is courage in the face of reality that distinguishes a man like Thucydides from Plato: Plato is a coward before reality, consequently he flees into the ideal; Thucydides has control of himself, consequently he also maintains control of things” (Kaufmann 558-559).

The Greek tragedy heroic ideal as embodied in Thucydides’ works celebrates the will to live and the will to life in the face of the reality that life is suffering and death. It is a realistic acceptance of existence while still being celebratory and life affirming at the conditions imposed by such a reality. The pain and suffering of birth are symbolic of this affirmation because the pain of giving birth to life is the highest expression of the will to life, one that comes about only through experiencing pain and suffering. The determination or will to life of a Santiago embodies this concept as surely does an Odysseus. It is a joy in the reality of life, despite the fact that the reality of life is to face the meaninglessness of an existence which is composed of suffering and death...

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Biography of Ernest Hemingway. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:49, August 20, 2017, from
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