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 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
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(1999, 10). King Lear: Lear the Tragic Hero. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/King-Lear-Lear-Tragic-Hero-3850.html
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"King Lear: Lear the Tragic Hero." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/King-Lear-Lear-Tragic-Hero-3850.html.