The Tragedies of Hamlet and King Lear Essay

The Tragedies of Hamlet and King Lear Essay

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Both 'King Lear' and 'Hamlet' can be described as a tragedy because Shakespeare used Aristotle’s definition of tragedy to construct these plays. In a tragedy the main character suffers as a result of their fatal flaw.
King Lear fits Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle stated a tragedy must be a play where the hero suffers as a result of their fatal flaw, has overbearing pride or presumption, has a dramatic episode of emotions, realises there mistakes but it is too late.
King Lear proposes to retire from the cares of his kingdom which is of significant importance. His fatal flaw and King Lear’s harmatia is his vanity which makes the audiences feel pity and fear when he falls victim to flattery and is ruthlessly betrayed by those he should have been able to trust the most
Hamlet’s fatal flaw is it’s his ability to over think. When the ghost of his father appears to him and charges him with the demanding task of avenging his most foul murder, Hamlet accepts the challenge. As the play progresses, however, Hamlet finds it difficult to execute such a murderous task. In order to delay killing Claudius, Hamlet plans to act crazy, which forces Claudius to send him to England. He also devises the “mouse-trap” scene, (Act 3 Scene 2), where he asked a troupe of actors to play a scene similar to how Claudius murdered his brother (King Hamlet). Hamlet’s inability to act and to avenge his father’s death leads him, as well as many others to their graves.
Shakespeare's plays were written during the Elizabethan England because he had to impress the Queen. It took place on the edge of the Renaissance where ordinary people became liberated which was a huge step in the intelligence of mankind. The Renaissance was when people be...


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...n how others would want the plot. This means that King Lear and Hamlet are not plays entirely from Shakespeare's imagination; instead they are plays written in the way Shakespeare interpreted as being most likely to be popular. Consequently, Shakespeare can not be seen as the architect of their tragedies, Elizabethan England is responsible for the creation of the tragedies.

Traditionally, as Lear and Hamlet are characters from plays they cannot be architects of their tragedies. However, the way that they have been created with such dominant and apparent flaws believe that they are architects of their tragedies. This is because they both allow themselves to be manipulated by their emotions and react in contrasting ways. The emotions cause Hamlet to think too much, whereas they cause Lear to ignore the potential consequences of his action and not to think at all.

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