"The Imitation Game" embodies the biography of Alan Turing, a legendary cryptanalyst who cracked the Enigma code, and important segments of world history in the late 1930's to the early 1950 's during World War II. In an attempt to decode secret German messages, a team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School, work together through thick and thin to crack the Enigma code.
The film shows Turing in his childhood, from bullying to his first love, where his fatal flaw, homosexuality, is revealed. Turing works alone to build a device that would speed up the process of the coding, but his colleagues blame him for not contributing to the team effort. Over time, Turing begins to work and interact better with his colleagues with the help of Joan Clarke, the only young woman recruited into their team who eventually becomes Turing's fiance.
In the midst of these events, Turing is called in for interrogation because he is accused of being a Soviet Union spy and as someone who is hiding something (homosexuality). At the engagement party, Turing has an epiphany that cracks the enigma code, but then they face the burden of deciding who gets to live and die in the war. They have to keep it as a secret, otherwise, all the work that has been done would have been for nothing. Turing eventually reveals that he is homosexual to Joan in order to protect her and claims that he only proposed to her so he could use her to crack the code. Months later, he was sentenced for indecency. Turing explains to Joan in a visit that he needs to take "treatment" in order to stay out of prison, and a year later, he commits suicide at the age of 41.
As the world continues to develop, new innovations pass from person to person, and with people there comes perception. Throughout history, people's ideas continue to thrive, and the trend can be clearly seen through language and arts. From ancient plays to modern books, not only do the stories build upon one another, ancient characters become modern-day people, meaning that the characters emerge from pages onto the real world. Even though they are still seen between pages, they are brought to life in a new light. Because people have changed so much from the stone ages to the Shakespearean period, and all the way to modern day, their perception of a "tragic hero" has definitely changed and the use of the label has gone from entertainment to defining people present all around the world. In the ancient Roman period, Aristotle defines a tragic hero as "a man of noble stature… not an ordinary man, but one with outstanding qualities and greatness who brings his own destruction for the greater cause or principle and can only be considered a tragic hero if he can see the root of his downfall."
Modern-day tragic heroes are shown as far more vulnerable and human as seen through the "Imitation Game" compared to plays like "Oedipus the King," and even "Julius Caesar" where they include such things that can predict the future and include the supernatural whereas in the "Imitation Game," it is solely based on the real world and the real world has limitations, no one can predict the future and no supernatural force is visible. This is due to fit the particular interests of people. What the ancient times defined as a tragic hero is not necessarily what modern people perceive what a tragic hero truly is. No one knows who is born into nobility. Nobility not only means belonging to a high class but also showing better personal quality or high moral principles and ideas.
Now in present day, nobility is not just a label freely put onto people, it is something that is earned. Even though plays, movies, and books follow the formula of what makes a tragic hero, there are more complex qualities added into characters in order to grasp the audience of today like how Alan Turing is a homosexual and not only arrogant and his hubris is not the only quality that brings his downfall in the "Imitation Game." Anyone can be considered a tragic hero, not all of them are born in such nobility and not all of them can realize their flaws before their ultimate downfall. What created a tragic hero in the real world does not have to follow an old definition, but a new one to fit modern perception.