Tragic hero Trump enters final act

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Whether you like it or not, Donald Trump has had a momentous effect upon US and indeed global politics. Ranging from sexual assault allegations to his abhorrent racism, he is a caricature, a hideous melange if you will, of developments that have become so archetypal of the 21st century.

You could not create a more tragic hero than Donald Trump.

I hope that this acts as a sort of pre-emptive eulogy for his political life; I have faith that it will. Tales tell me that tragic heroes like Trump always meet some sadistic yet ironic end; Achilles, Othello and Oedipus. All of these characters were an archetype of their times, as is Trump.

Let me set the scene. The world is  very much divided between those with power and those without power. We find ourselves in a self-obsessed technological culture characterised by meaninglessness politics. What a  befitting hero Trump is – of a time in which reality television is revered with a pious importance, in which self-love is seen as a virtue, in which narcissism has become the casual norm.

In this tale, Trump cannot be regarded as more than an entertainer, the protagonist of a particularly strange drama. He churns out meaningless information in the hope of heightening the cult of himself. He is the epitome of narcissism in the 21st century, a reflection of the elites, the self-obsessed, the post-truthers.

Herein lies Trump’s strength and ultimately his tragic flaw. His narcissism is perceived as virtuous and one of political integrity, transcending the everyday narcissism which one might observe. Talk to a Trump supporter, these mannerisms are an asset of his. “Unafraid to speak his mind” is bandied around in support of his “yuge” achievements, almost in awe of the scale of his self-obsession. His narcissism can be seen everywhere; horrifying sexual assault claims show his absolute disregard for the well-being of the “minor roles” around him, whilst his appearance on the American Apprentice sees him exert ruthless authority over those seeking his employment.

I could go on.

Trump has achieved demagogic status in 21st Century narcissism. His refusal to publish his tax records or propose any sound policy is of little importance.

In a typical drama, one might feel pathos for the tragic hero as the tale reaches its climax. And a month before the election results, I have never felt less sorry for Donald Trump. However, his tale does not go without a great sense of pity; undoubtedly, this drama leaves a very bitter taste in the mouths of Mexicans, of the disabled, of women, of “losers”, of African-Americans, of the poor, of Muslims, of Asians and of war veterans alike. One might say that his legacy will be one of pity for the world.

However, Trump will slink back into the shadows of the anonymity of the super-wealthy with only his own ego dented. His narcissism and self-obsession will be his ultimate downfall yet he will remain unharmed. This is the ultimate dramatic irony to the story of Donald Trump. In a tale of socioeconomic and racial division, of casual egotism, of post-truth, to quote Christopher Nolan, he is not the hero we need but the hero we deserve.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore

 

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