Traglear Tragic Hero In King Lear

1606 words - 6 pages

The definition of tragedy in Webster’s dictionary is, "drama of elevated theme and diction and with unhappy ending; sad event, serious accident, calamity."  However, the application of this terminology in Shakespearean Tragedy is more expressive.  Tragedy does not only mean death or calamity, but in fact, it refers to a series of steps that leads to the downfall of the tragic hero and eventually to his tragic death.  Lear, the main character in King Lear was affirmed as the tragic hero because the play meets all the requirements of a tragedy.   In order for a character to be qualified as a tragic hero, he must be in a high status on the social chain and the hero also possesses a tragic flaw that initiates the tragedy.  The fall of the hero is not felt by him alone but creates a chain reaction that affects everyone around him.  The hero should experience suffering and calamity gradually so that it may contrast his happier times.  Finally, the audience must also pity the tragic hero.

 

            Lear, the king of England would be the tragic hero because he held the highest position in the social chain at the very beginning of the play.  His social position gave him pride as he remarked himself as "Jupiter" and "Apollo".  Lear out of pride and anger has banished Cordelia and Kent and divided his Kingdom in halves to Goneril and Regan.  Lear's hamartia  which is his obstinate pride and anger overrides his judgment, thus, prevents him to see the true faces of people.  As in Act One, although Cordelia said "nothing", she really means everything she loves to his father.  However, Lear only believed in the beautiful words said by Regan and Goneril.  Although Kent, his loyal advisor begged Lear to see closer to the true faces of his daughters, he ignored him and became even more angry because Kent hurt Lear's pride by disobeying his order to stay out of his and Cordelia's way Lear had already warned him, "The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft."  Kent still disobeys Lear and hurts his pride further as he said, "Now by Apollo, King, thos swearest thy gods in vain.".  Finally, Kent is banished.  Because of the flaw of pride, Lear has initiated the tragedy by perturbing the order in the chain of being as he gives up his thrown, divides the kingdom and banishes his loyalist servant and loveliest daughter.

 

            The downfall of Lear is not just the suffering of him alone but the suffering of everyone down the chain of being.  For instance, Lear's pride and anger caused Cordelia and Kent to be banished, and Gloucester loses his position and eyes.  Everything that happened to these characters are in a chain of reaction and affected by Lear's tragic flaw.  If Lear did not lack of personal insight and if he...

Find Another Essay On traglear Tragic Hero in King Lear

King Lear: "Lear is a tragic hero, dominated by one fatal flaw"

1023 words - 4 pages A tragic hero must possess certain characteristics and act under certain conditions. King Lear is one of Shakespeare's most complex creations and most interesting and flawed tragic figures. In Lear, Shakespeare has created a multi-faceted character, a man capable of growth yet equally capable of catastrophic error. A man who possesses the greatest of flaws, but yet has the ability to gain the unquestionable loyalty and devotion of Kent, Cordelia

Tragic Hero King Creon in Sophocles´ Antigone

723 words - 3 pages As George Orwell once mentioned,” A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him”. Similarly in Sophocles, Antigone, King Creon can be regarded as a tragic hero despite of his staged villain role; because it is his arrogance and power that destroys him. Although one can argue that the hero of the play is Antigone and that the play is centered on her

How Tragic Is King Lear?

2663 words - 11 pages Running Head: HOW TRAGIC IS KING LEAR?How Tragic Is King Lear?How Tragic Is King Lear?IntroductionA tragedy in Shakespearean terms could be defined as a "drama or literary work in which the main character, the tragic hero, is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavourable circumstances, such as death" (Shakespeare, 2007, 42-45). The central character

Discuss King Lear as a tragic hero using A.C. Bradley's definition

627 words - 3 pages by abdicating his throne to his three daughters, "Know that we have divided/ In three our kingdom" (1.1.37-38), which was the start of disorder in the chain of being that they so heavily believed in. Because Lear stepped down as king and cause disorder in the chain of being, he had to be punished by the gods until he died. The reason for this is so that a tragic hero would gain insight through suffering and realize what they did wrong to justify

Oedipus-tragic King And Hero

567 words - 2 pages the potential consequences to himself. As both king and tragic hero, Oedipus ultimately chooses exile in order to punish himself and to save his country.By crowning him king, the people of Thebes entrusted Oedipus to make decisions that would keep Thebes prosperous. He accepted this as his role and attempted to act in their best interest. From his opening line, "my children" to his final exile and Creon's comment, "leave your children," he held

Oedipus as a Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King

1473 words - 6 pages suffering” (DiYanni). The combination of the tragic hero’s character traits and the storyline he or she follows make the tragedy an actual tragedy rather than a depressing story with a sad ending. In Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus embodies the traits that a tragic hero should have, including being greater than the average man and possessing an ultimately benevolent character, while also following the plot line that a tragic hero must by coming to

Comparision of the tragic characters in Othello and King Lear in accordance with aspects of a tragic character

1842 words - 7 pages playwright of the 17th century, composed many tragedies, including King Lear and Othello, which exemplified the characteristics of a tragic hero outlined by Aristotle. The main characters in King Lear and Othello share many of the traits essential to tragic characters, yet they differ in their specific actions taken.At the start of the two plays, both King Lear and Othello are presented as men of a high rank and importance. Othello is presented as a

Oedipus the King: A Greek Tragic Hero

518 words - 2 pages and prosperous.” Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is clearly shown by the main character in the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Oedipus, the protagonist in this Greek tragedy, is exemplary of Aristotle’s idea of a “tragic hero.” In Oedipus the King, Oedipus, the main character is a great man who saves the city of Thebes from the plague of the Sphinx by answering an extremely difficult riddle. Everything is going for him. He

Oedipus the King: A Greek Tragic Hero

1141 words - 5 pages Many Greek tragedies include a central character known as "the tragic hero." In the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, the character Oedipus, portrays to the reader the necessary, central, tragic hero. According to Aristotle, "a tragic hero has a supreme pride" (Jones. Pg. 133). That pride is a reflection of arrogance and conceit that suggests superiority to man and equality with the gods. Students of religion are often taught that

Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero

1009 words - 4 pages Tragedies have been written, told, and acted out for a number of years. Aristotle defined in his book, Poetics that a tragedy is to arouse the emotions of pity, fear, and finally a catharsis, or purging of emotions. A tragic play that perfectly completes this cycle of emotions is Oedipus the King by Sophocles. This play follows a king of the town of Thebes through his journey of the emotions of pity, fear, and finally a catharsis. It is a tale

King Oedipus as The Classical Greek Tragic Hero

1352 words - 5 pages King Oedipus as The Classical Greek Tragic Hero In his Poetics, Aristotle defined the term 'tragedy' as 'a man not preeminently virtuous and just, whose misfortune, however, is brought upon him not by vice or depravity, but by some error in judgement' the change in the hero's fortune must not be from misery to happiness, but on the contrary, from happiness to misery'. From this definition, he further expanded it by defining the profile of

Similar Essays

Traglear Tragic Character In King Lear

945 words - 4 pages The Tragic Character in King Lear In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the similar events that Lear and Gloucester experience result in a parallel plot sequence for the story. Lear and Gloucester are similar characters because they are experiencing similar problems while playing the role of a father. Their children also have a similar eagerness for power, a problem that both Lear and Gloucester should not have to deal with while addressing

King Lear As A Tragic Hero

1588 words - 6 pages The play of King Lear is a tragedy like many of Shakespeare’s plays, and many of them deal with the tragic hero that end up meeting their demise thanks to their tragic flaw. The tragic hero of this play is King Lear, and he is a man that is a ruler of the kingdom of Britain in the 8th century B.C. He is a very old man surrounded by grave responsibilities, which are taking care of the land and taking care of the citizens of the kingdom. Lear the

Traglear King Lear As A Bradley Tragedy

1330 words - 5 pages King Lear as a Bradley Tragedy      King Lear meets all the requirements of a tragedy as defined by Andrew Cecil Bradley.  Bradley states that a Shakespearean tragedy has to be the story of the hero and there is exceptional suffering and calamity slowly being worn in.  Also, the current time must be contrasted to happier times.  The play also depicts the troubled parts in the hero’s life and eventually he dies instantaneously because of

Traglear King Lear As An Arthur Miller Tragedy

1216 words - 5 pages King Lear as an Arthur Miller Tragedy        If we seek to justify Shakespeare's King Lear as a tragedy by applying Arthur Miller's theory of tragedy and the tragic hero, then we might find Lear is not a great tragedy, and the character Lear is hardly passable for a tragic hero. However, if we take Aristotle's theory of tragedy to examine this play, it would fit much more neatly and easily. This is not because Aristotle prescribes using