“Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them...great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divine lightning.” Tragic heroes are characters of notoriety; held in high regard but are struck with misfortune through their own error. The most noble of men can succumb to their own flaws until driven to the brink of insanity, as illustrated in Shakespeare’s play, King Lear. King Lear represents all qualities of a tragic hero and in the end is ruined by his own vice, by driving himself to the point of full-blown insanity as a result of his actions.
As all tragic heroes, Lear is a man of nobility. He is the King of England; he has power and is held in high regard. As King, Lear is generally well liked and well respected. As a tragic hero, King Lear has the ability to inflict fear and pity into readers, proving that he is in fact a well-liked character. He frightens the audience into falling into the same pattern of mistakes, for he is evidence that even the best of men can fall from grace as a result of their own actions. Much like the tallest trees of the forest, Lear stands tall amongst all others in his kingdom. He is the strongest, most powerful tree in the forest; a wealthy, noble, and respectable man.
Despites Lear’s qualities that identify him as greater man, he, as all tragic heroes, possess that one flaw that will destroy him. As he ages, King Lear believes it may be best if he passes his kingdom down to his daughters. He has the land divided into thirds; one piece for each of his daughters. He tells them that whoever proves they love him the most will receive the biggest share. Goneril and Regan, his two oldest daughters, shower Lear with words of false flattery and love solely to receive the biggest piece of land. When it is Cordelia’s turn to profess her love for her...
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