King Lear – The Tragic Hero

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The protagonist of a tragedy, according to Jacobus IIV, should be someone who is not necessarily good or just but whose downfall is caused by an error or frailty. In William Shakespeare’s play King Lear, Lear is the tragic hero who falls from greatness due to his errors and frailties. Lear, the King of Britain, divides his land among his three daughters, but his decision is based on their flattery instead of their true feelings. He banishes his youngest daughter Cordelia, who refuses to engage in the game of flattery, and leaves her with nothing. Lear’s downfall is caused by his ignorance and pride, which lead to his bad decisions and mistreatment of his loved ones. In the end, Lear redeems himself by realizing his mistakes and sacrificing his own life.

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"The protagonist of a tragedy should be a person who is not eminently good or just, yet whose fortune is brought by some error or frailty" (Jacobus IIV). This error could be ignorance, flaw or weakness in his character or the act may have been committed in anger or passion such is the case of King Lear in the Shakespearian play, King Lear by William Shakespeare. King Lear is an ideal tragic hero who falls from the greatness due to some great error of frailty.

For this, he has to go through a lot of pain and sufferings but in the end he finally has a chance to redeem himself and has to pay the ultimate price, his own life. Lear is the King of Britain and has three daughters named Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Lear is an old man and therefore he wants to divide his land among his three daughters. One of the veryfirst and least attractive roles King Lear assumes is of a bad father.

He announces that he will divide the land according to their public acceptance of their father's love thus engaging them in the dreadful game of flattery. Goneril and Regan swear the whole allegiance of their hearts to a father, leaving nothing for a husband. "Sir, I love you more than a word can wield the matterDearer than eyesight, space and liberty …" (Shakespeare, Ii) In Lear's whimsical desire to hear how great he is, he trusts the substance of spoken words. He is not concerned with the truth and Cordelia's answer of nothing does not satisfy him.

So he mistakes Cordelia's response for an insult, a non-answer. She does not give him the words he desires because they do not hold the substance of what she knows to be truth. Lear is enraged by this and deprives Cordelia of all her land and banishes her from the country. Therefore, Lear'sfirst fault is the division of his powers and kingdom before his death.Another example of frailty that King Lear displays is ignorance. Lear is a proud old man and…

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