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Tragedy, the Tragic Hero, and the Anti-Hero

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1 Tragedy, the Tragic Hero, and the Anti-Hero

2 Tragedy "Tragedy is a form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear. Its action should be single and complete, presenting a reversal of fortune, involving persons renowned and of superior attainments, and it should be written in poetry embellished with every kind of artistic expression."

3 Tragic hero The tragic hero is pre-eminently great, but he/she is not perfect.  Otherwise, the rest of us--mere mortals--would be unable to identify with the tragic hero.  We should see in him or her as someone who is essentially like us, although perhaps elevated to a higher position in society.

4 Tragedy This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually translated as "tragic flaw"   Often the character's hamartia involves hubris (which is defined as a sort of arrogant pride or over- confidence). The hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. The fall is not pure loss. There is some increase in awareness, some gain in self-knowledge, some discovery on the part of the tragic hero. Though it arouses solemn emotion, tragedy does not leave its audience in a state of depression.  Aristotle argues that one function of tragedy is to arouse the "unhealthy" emotions of pity and fear and through a catharsis (which comes from watching the tragic hero's terrible fate) cleanse us of those emotions.   It might be worth noting here that Greek drama was not considered "entertainment," pure and simple; it had a communal function--to contribute to the good health of the community.  This is why dramatic performances were a part of religious festivals and community celebrations.

5 Hubris or humble? Where do you see hubris portrayed in King Lear? Does this ever change? If so, at what point in the play does it change and why?

6 The anti hero

7 Anti hero vs tragic hero
Tragic hero: the main character in a tragedy who makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall. Anti Hero: A central character in a work of literature who lacks traditional heroic qualities such as courage, physical prowess, and fortitude.

8 Tragic flaw Each group must find two examples in the text to defend their assigned tragic flaw as being King Lear’s ultimate tragic flaw. Group 1: Lack of self-knowledge Group 2: Rashness of judgment Group 3: Self-centeredness Group 4: Other

9 JOURNAL In your journal, write an outline supporting one the four tragic flaws for King Lear. Use evidence from the text to support your response.

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