Mcmurphy Is A Tragic Hero Essay, Research Paper
McMurphy is a tragic hero who has many reasons that leads to his incentable downfall. McMurphy is a patient inside a ward with cronics and acutes. McMurphy enters the ward not knowing the policy of the ward causing mayhem by going against policy rules due to his actions. I think that his action is the spark to his incentable downfall. This is a scene of his actions, challenging the Big Nurse, “It’s okay, Doc. It was the lady there that started it, made the mistake. I’ve known some people inclined to do that. I had this uncle whose name was Hallahan and he went out with a woman once who kept acting like she couldn’t remember his name right and calling him Hooligan just to get his goat. It went on for months before he stopped her. Oh? How did he stop her? McMurphy grins and rubs his nose with his thumb. ‘Ah-ah, now, I can’t be telln’ that. I keep Uncle Hallahan’s method a strict secret, you see, in case I need it myself someday.”(Pg.40-41). In this passage, McMurphy is telling of what he will do to the Big Nurse if she keeps on acting like she does, with what his uncle did to the woman he went out with.
In the beginning McMurphy seems to be winning his battles with the Big Nurse but she is simply waiting for the right time, awaiting her opportunity. The Big Nurse has ultimate power over the patients and this is what makes McMurphy lose to the Big Nurse. McMurphy find out the reason why the other patients are in the ward when they say to him
“Mr. McMurphy my friend I’m not a chicken, I’m a rabbit. The doctor is a rabbit. Cheswick there is a rabbit. Billy Bibbit is a rabbit. All of us in here are rabbits of varying ages and degrees, hippity-hopping through our Walt Disney world. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, we’re not in here because we are rabbits-we’d be rabbits wherever we were-we’re all in here because we can’t adjust to our rabbithood. ‘ Man, you’re talking like a fool. You mean to tell me that you’re gonna sit back and let some old blue-haired woman talk to you into being a rabbit “(Pg. 55-56)
Chief Bromden warns McMurphy that the Big Nurse and the ward will get him and there’s nothing that you can do about it unless he’s with them, “The combine had whipped him. It beats everybody. It’ll beat you too. They can’t have somebody as big as Papa running around unless he’s one of them”(Pg. 171). Later, McMurphy become opened with the personal life, making his private reality a public property to the patients. He offers himself to them, telling them the way he became in order for them to become more like him. The only thing that keeps him going now is the will of the acutes; his own will has now withered away. He is no longer able to leave the ward, his involuntary commitments has become voluntary in order to strengthen the other patients, he weakness himself to the point where he can no longer live outside the ward. His downfall has caused him to become weak, he now sacrifices himself to save them. The sacrifice that McMurphy makes is seen in a symbolic way in Chief Bromden’s dream, “The honking came closer and closer till seemed like they must be flying right through the dorm, right over my head. They crossed the moon – weaving necklace, drawn into a V by that lead goose. For an instant that lead goose was right in the centre of that circle, bigger than the others, a black cross opening and closing, then he pulled his V out of sight into the sky once more. I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound” (Pg. 129). McMurphy’s incentable downfall is his ignorance to listen to what the other patient’s have to say, thinking that he’ll leave in a matter of time.
He is surrounded by external forces that he has no or little control over which leads to his death. These forces include the Big Nurse, Chief Bromden, acute patients (his friends) and the ward (combine). An external force that McMurphy doesn’t know about is what Chief Bromden knows, he says, “Nobody complains about all the fog. I know why now; as bad as it is, you can slip back in it and feel safe. That’s what McMurphy can’t understand, us wanting to be safe. He keeps trying to drag us out of the fog, out in the open where we’d be easy to get at” (Pg. 27). McMurphy doesn’t really keep the Chief’s advice in mind, leading to his death.
I also feel sympathy for McMurphy because when he realised that it was impossible to leave the ward, instead of continuing to continue his actions, which lead him into staying. He decided that if the could change the acutes minds about staying and make them stronger even by sacrificing himself he would do it. Unlike Macbeth who knew what lied ahead, McMurphy didn’t and that’s why shouldn’t have died in the end.