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King Lear (to Be Finished)

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ashleighjoleen
Words 2304
Pages 10
In the light of your critical readings how far areLear and Macbeth tragic protagonists?

Example intro

Normally, the common hero would be a character embodying megalopsychia. However, both Lear and Macbeth are conventionally tragic figures, even displaying anti-heroic qualities. Aristotle’s “Poetics” suggests that a tragic protagonist has greatness which is readily evident in the play. The Victorian critic A.C. Bradley picks up Aristotle’s notion to contend and mentions that although the protagonist is a person of greatness, they are not perfect and contain a tragic flaw which can lead to his downfall. Unlike most tragic protagonists, Lear’s fall occurs early in the play when he decides to express his “darker purpose” to Gloucester by dividing the kingdom between his three daughters. Firstly, this rash decision implies Lear’s downfall and prepares the audience for what is to come. Secondly, this would have alarmed a Jacobean audience who would remember how the question of succession had loomed large during the reign of Elizabeth 1. However, Lear does not show many noble attributes before his fall when he loses his temper at Cordelia and he tells her he will, “disclaim all my paternal care,” because she refuses to flatter him with praises and love. This is different to Macbeth who is seen as “brave” and “noble” in the early stages of the play due to killing the rebel, Macdonwald, and fighting off an attack from the Norwegians.

Example 2 1. Throughout literary history, there has been much discussion as to whether or not it is right to call both the characters King Lear and Macbeth tragic protagonists. A tragic protagonist is an individual in the upper echelons of society who thanks to their own ‘tragic flaw’ suffers a downfall that affects both themselves and those around them. Through studying both of these a conclusion can be drawn and it is possible to...

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