I know Tristan would not be considered the classic Hero, making everything right and work out. No... he has flaws and he even betrays the person he owes his life to, Lord Marke. He is in love with Lord Markes's wife, Isolde, who rescued and fell in love with him long before she was Lord Markes wife.
Tristan suffers from this love. He is torn between his duty and the life he owes to Lord Marke and the love he finds in Isolde. And with this love he finds a life beyond duty and death.
Throughout the story you might think that Tristan is no hero. He commits adultery and is unfaithful, a liar and a betrayer.
But... oh and that's good... but Lord Marke - after finding out and talking with Tristan and Isolde - gives Isolde free and lets Tristan be with her. Isn't the grace and mercy Lord Marke shows just remarkable?
This grace gives Tristan a choice: Take the easy way, run away with Isolde, whom he loves; or fight for his honor, being a man of character, seeking forgiveness and righteousness.
But Tristan is not a man of compromise or mediocrity. He chooses honor. He chooses the stony path.
It costs him his life in the end, but also washes him free of guilt and he gains Lord Markes forgiveness. That is why he is a hero in my eyes. He is a man of character who in the end understands that grace and honor are to be followed because of the fatherly love and forgiveness which is shown to him through grace by Lord Marke.
Before Tristan dies he says some remarkable words which sum this up perfectly:
"I don't know if life is greater than death, but love was greater than either"Below you'll find the music video by Gavin deGraw about this movie. I think it gives you a nice impression of the plot.
Before I leave you with the video, let me say one last thing. Do not choose the road of compromise, but choose life. Choose honor and love and grace and forgiveness and righteousness.