King Lear

Essay by Norman TamCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 1997

download word file, 6 pages 4.8

Downloaded 105 times

King Lear Essay

The definition of tragedy in the Oxford 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 which 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 which

initiates the tragedy. The fall of the hero is not felt by him alone but creates a chain

reaction which affects everyone around him.

Besides, the hero must experience suffering

and calamity slowly which would contrast his happier times. The suffering and calamity

instantaneously caused chaos in his life and eventually leads to his death. Finally, the sense

of fear and pity to the tragic hero must appear in the play as well. This makes men scared

of blindness to truths which prevents them from knowing when fortune or something else

would happen on them.

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...