I once wrote that whenever Donald Trump exits office, he will likely leave as a “tragic hero.” Over two millennia ago, the Athenian tragedian Sophocles first described the archetype in his portraits of an angry and old but still fearsome Ajax, and heroic but stubborn and self-fixated Antigone.
In the iconic John Ford Western “The Searchers” and in a host of other films from “Shane” to “High Noon,” we have seen stories of these sorts.
The legalistic but impotent town council, the idealistic but outgunned sodbusters or the incompetent posse in desperation turns to unconventional deliverance. They suddenly need a John Wayne as a scary Ethan Edwards, or a mysterious gunslinger like Shane.
But to call in such Manichean outsiders is to admit that the status quo of a sober establishment has failed.
The outsider deliverers are suspiciously seen as self-absorbed. Their methods bother an endangered, polite society, even as they begin to bring it results.
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