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King Lear As Tragic Hero Essay

1260 words - 6 pages

A tragedy in Shakespearean terms could be defined as a drama or literary work in which the main character, the tragic hero, 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, such as death (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition). The main character in the play King Lear is Lear himself, the King of Britain, who is displayed as a tragic hero because he displays the qualities that pertain to a tragedy. However, the tragic hero, according to A.C. Bradley, probably the most experienced man in the study of Shakespearean tragedy, is someone ...view middle of the document...

When it was her turn to speak her love for her father she say's "Nothing, my lord" (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 89). Cordelia truly loves her father and does not know what to say and she is, like previously stated, banished by her father, because Lear's hamartia (pride) blocks out her non-flattery speech. This led to the king giving his kingdom (in two evenly distributed parts) to his other two daughters, Goneril and Regan. Kent, disagrees with the Lear's unreasonable action given towards his daughter Cordelia, and giving away all he controls to his other two mischievous daughters Goneril and Regan who used flattery in their speech, unlike Cordelia who really loved him, truly. This is proved when Kent say's, "When power to flattery bows"¦falls to folly"¦this hideous rashness"¦thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, nor are empty hearted" (Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 151-155). Lear's pride has been lowered by Kent and in turn, he becomes very angry at Kent and banishes him also, saying, "Kent, on thy life no more!" (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 157). Now that Lear has officially given control over England to his two other Daughters, Goneril and Regan, he has tangled the "˜The Elizabethan Order'. This becomes the starting point for the tragedy to come. This is because Lear's tragic flaw of being such a prideful person. Re-arranging of the "˜The Elizabethan Order", leads to Lear suffering, and others too. Too explain this further, as written above, Lear banishes Cordelia and Kent because of his hamartia (pride). But later, this affects Gloucuster too because if Lear was not so proud he would not have banished his youngest daughter, Cordelia and thus Goneril and Regan would not have schemed together, their plan to rid of what's left of Lear's power. Also, if Goneril and Regan did not go against their father, then Gloucuster, most likely, would not have been tortured by Cornwall, taking out his eyes (Act 3, Scene 7, Lines 67-68), later leading to his death, near the end of the play. Also, early on in the play, Goneril notices that the fool knows of her and Regan's plan (disempowerment of king Lear), and that he was warning Lear about it. This is understood when the Fool say's, "When thou clovest crown"¦thy hadst little wit in thy bals...away" (Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 161-168). This leads to the Fool being kicked out by...

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