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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 tragic hero must feel suffering and contrast those good times to the suffering, except his suffering leads to chaos and ultimately his death. The definition of a tragedy from our class notes is, “an honorable protagonist with a tragic flaw, which is also known as a fatal flaw. This eventually leads to his/her demise” (Class Notes). The definition of a tragic hero if laid out in black and white and King Lear meets all these requirements and his nobleness initiated his tragic flaw. King Lear is a tragic hero because he is a man that is very arrogant and does not see the world for what it really is. We can show how Lear is a tragic hero by using some of the elements of Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero that are nobleness, arrogance (tragic flaw), and reversal of fortune.
Lear is a noble man because he comes from a royal family and that is the first quality that shows that Lear is a tragic hero. Throughout Lear’s life, everything has been done for him because he is the King and back in the 8th century B.C. all of the people of the country had to meet all the demands of the King. His nobility can be seen when Kent says, “Royal Lear, Whom I have honored as my king, Loved as my father, as my master followed, As my great patron thought on in my prayers,” (Shakespeare I, I, 141-144) Kent is showing that Lear is a man of high stature. The nobility that Lear possesses shadows his eyes from the real World and he is not able to make intelligent decisions based on what is right in reality. Even when Kent has been disguised as a person who Lear should recognize, his noble qualities shadow his judgment of his truly loyal servant. So Lear being from a family of nobility, contributes to him being a tragic hero and also his tragic flaw of arrogance.
King Lear’s tragic flaw is arrogance, which is Lear’s lack of knowledge in certain situations and this was the flaw that ultimately led to Lear’s downfall. The very first thing that Lear does that is badly misjudged, is when he chooses to split up his Kingdom between his daughters just to lose the responsibility of the kingdom but not the glory. This decision is blinded by thinking about himself and not thinking about what will happen...

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