King Lear and Antigone as Tragic Hero

1615 words 7 pages
Because Lear is capable of change, he becomes a tragic hero; because Antigone is incapable of change, she never becomes a tragic heroine.

Aristotle defines a tragic hero as someone, usually a male, who “falls from a high place mainly due to their fatal flaw.” During the highest point of the tragic hero’s life, something is revealed to the protagonist causing a reversal in their fortune. This reversal of fortune is caused by the flaw in their character. Tragedy evokes catharsis, a feeling of pity for the protagonist in the audience. While both the characters of Lear and Antigone possess some tragic features required to be a tragic hero, only one proves to be the true tragic hero.
Antigone can be considered a tragic hero, because
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Hubris is the depiction of her tragic errors, which are evidently related to her overwhelming pride and stubbornness. Antigone’s hubris is her biggest flaw as it seems that she has done this for mainly herself, she doesn’t want to back down, she believes she is right and therefore will not change her ways which leads to her death. Ironically however Creon, the tragic hero of ‘The Burial at Thebes’ does go through an epiphany and realises his errors, when he goes to stop Antigone from being put to death it is discovered that Antigone has taken her own life. King Lear is not good or bad, but by misfortune he is deprived of something very valuable to him by error of judgement. At the very beginning of the play Lear is still in possession of his kingdom, he is presented as a powerful generous monarch, his speech being powerful and superior. He insists that for him to decide which to give most of his kingdom to, each of daughters must declare their love for him “Which of you shall we say doth love us most…” His actions are not occasioned by any corruption or depravity in him, but by an error in judgment, which, however, does arise from a defect of character. Lear has a "tragic flaw", also pride. It is his hubris in the first scene that causes him to make his error in judgment; the division of his kingdom and the loss of Cordelia. Throughout the rest of the play, the consequences of this error slowly and steadfastly


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