Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/12/14
At the end of his life, there were only two ways to view Joe Paterno. One camp suspected that Paterno, the most important and powerful person on Penn State's campus, had to have been involved in the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. The other merely hoped his name would stay far enough removed to protect his lifelong legacy of good work. But only one of those sides is going to exist soon, and the winningest coach in college football history is not only going to be synonymous with Penn State's shame, but perhaps culpable in its crimes. Paterno is no longer here to explain himself. He died in January at age 85, acknowledging in his final days that he should have done more after assistant coach Mike McQueary told him he had witnessed Sandusky assaulting a 10-year-old boy in February 2001. But Paterno, both under oath and in his last public comments, insisted that after passing the information to senior Penn State officials, he was never involved in the school's investigation of Sa...
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1 Comment:
  • If this were 2,500 years ago, Sophocles or Aeschylus would have written a tragedy play about Paterno. He's a perfect example of what Aristotle described in his "Poetics" as the four characteristics of a tragic hero:

    1. POSITION. The hero is royal or noble with great power, usually a king. He is a good, respected man who acts out of good intentions. He has much to lose.

    2. TRAGIC FLAW (hamartia). In spite of his good intentions, the hero makes a tragic error which causes his reversal. The error usually stems from a character flaw, usually pride.

    3. REVERSAL (catastrophe). Because of his tragic error, the hero suffers a downfall from his happy, envied position to suffering and misery.

    4. RECOGNITION (catharsis). The hero realizes that his own flaw or error has caused his reversal. This recognition always occurs too late for the hero to prevent or escape his reversal.


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