King Lear as a Tragic Hero

In: English and Literature

Submitted By marta123
Words 985
Pages 4
The idea of the tragic hero was created in ancient Greek tragedy and defined by Aristotle (and others). Usually, this includes the realization of the error (anagnorisis), which results in catharsis or epiphany. Aristotle said that tragedy is characterised by seriousness and dignity and involving a great person who experiences a reversal of fortune. Aristotle’s definition can include a change of fortune from good to bad, this affects pity and fear within the audience. Tragedy results in catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama/play. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must be a noble person and also hold a “high” status in society. The character must also have an error in judgement (hamartia). Often the character’s ‘hamartia’ involves hubris (excessive pride). The hero must have a reversal of fortune brought by the hero’s tragic flaw although the downfall will not be a complete loss. It should be noticed that the hero`s downfall is his own fault because he has free choice, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. At the end of the play the hero will gain some sort of self-knowledge or have a sense of realisation as a result of his actions in which the audience will somewhat feel satisfied. In King Lear by William Shakespeare, Lear the main character showed that he has all the necessary requirements of a `tragic hero`, his high social status leads him to his hamartia, which is his pride and egotism. King Lear`s downfall is due to his error in judgment which leads him to his own destructions. At the end of the play King Lear became a better person because of this the audience feels pity and the audience begins to think that he does not deserve that much punishment. King Lear at the beginning of the play does not seem like a tragic hero because of…...

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