ANALYZING KING LEAR’S TRAGIC FLAWS
King Lear is a play about a tragic hero, by the name of King Lear, whose flaws get the best of him. A tragic hero must possess three qualities. The first is they must have power, in other words, a leader. King Lear has the highest rank of any leader. He is a king. The next quality is they must have a tragic flaw, and King Lear has several of those. Finally, they must experience a downfall. Lear’s realization of his mistakes is more than a downfall. It is a tragedy. Lear is a tragic hero because he has those three qualities. His flaws are his arrogance, his ignorance, and his misjudgments, each contributing to the other.
The first flaw in King Lear is his arrogance, which results in the loss of Cordelia and Kent. It is his arrogance in the first scene of the play that causes him to make bad decisions. He expects his favorite, youngest daughter to be the most worthy of his love. His pride makes him expect that Cordelia’s speech to be the one filled with the most love. Unfortunately for King Lear’s pride, Cordelia replies to his inquisition by saying, “I love your majesty/According to my bond and nothing less”(1.1.100-101). Out of pride and anger, Lear banishes Cordelia and splits the kingdom in half to the two evil sisters, Goneril and Regan. This tragic flaw prevents King Lear from seeing the truth because his arrogance overrides his judgement. Lear’s arrogance also causes him to lose his most faithful servant, Kent. In addition, in the first act, Lear’s arrogance causes him to refuse to listen to Kent’s plea to look deeper into the true hearts of his two eldest daughters. Even after the king tells Kent to mind his own business, Kent continues to try to reason with him. Kent exclaims, “See better, Lear and let me still remain/The true blank of thine eye”(1.1.180-181). Kent shows his worthiness by keeping up his fight to show King Lear the...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York: Pocket Books, 1993.
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