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Lear's Tragic Flaw

In: English and Literature

Submitted By SirBellis
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The first stage of Aristotle’s definition is the pre-eminence stage. This is where the Tragic Hero is either of noble birth or maintains a high position in society. Lear is shown as the King of Britain at the beginning of the play, therefore we are introduced to a character with pre-eminence and that is shown upon Lear’s entry into the play where he declares “We shall express our darker purpose. Give me the map there”. The use of the pronoun “we” is reference to the royal “we”, this instantly shows that Lear is a man who demands respect and is of a royal background. In addition the use of the adjective “darker” brings forth secretive and vague imagery and shifts the tone to that of a severe nature. This makes us unaware on what Lear is about to declare to the rest of the Kingdom, however this is a form of foreshadowing for the consequences of Lear dividing the Kingdom at this point in the play and that this event is what casts a shadow over the Kingdom. It could also reference the contextual significance of the splitting of the Kingdom due to the belief in The Divine Right of Kings. This was the belief that it was God who picked Kings which were exclusively male. With Lear giving his Kingdom to his three daughters, this completely ignores any of the contextual conventions which hints to the audience of Lear’s tragic flaw.
This leads onto the second stage in Aristotle’s belief which is the Tragic Flaw that a tragic hero must have to help elicit pity from the audience and helps make the character relatable. For Lear it is his ego and his naivity that eventually leads to his downfall. This is evident when he fails to get exactly what he wants from his glorious, ego fuelling love trials he says to Cordelia “Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.” Lear needs this event to be a spectacle and when he doesn’t get specifically what he wants we get the impression that he…...

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