A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. A flaw in the character of the protagonist of a tragedy that brings the protagonist to ruin or sorrow. a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat: King Lear is a perfect example of a tragedy. In a typical tragedy, the main character, or tragic hero, is brought to suffer some extreme sorrow, because of a tragic flaw he possesses. King Lear, the tragic hero, carries the tragic flaw of vanity, which causes his downfall. His demise begins with him believing his two insincere older daughters, Goneril and Regan, tell him that they love him more than anything, and casts out his youngest daughter, Cordelia, who truthfully tells him, “I love your majesty according to my bond; nor more nor less” (Shakespeare 4). Lear is too arrogant to see that Cordelia is the daughter that truly loves him and throws out anyone close enough to tell him his mistake. As the plot progresses, Lear realizes Goneril and Regan have betrayed him and Cordelia did truly love him, but still refuses to return to Cordelia begging for forgiveness. At this point, Lear is mad, but Cordelia wants to nurse him back to health. Cordelia dies and later Lear dies of grief all because of his vanity.
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