To properly answer this question, we need to first establish what qualities Aristotle laid out as necessary for a tragic hero. We know already that most Elizabethan tragedy adhered closely to these Aristotelian guidelines, although Shakespeare was known to bend the rules more than other dramatists.
According to Aristotle, a tragic hero had the following characteristics:
1. Must be of noble birth—this is inarguably true of Richard, as he is the ruling king of England.
2. Must suffer from a tragic "fatal" flaw which brings about his own demise—in the case of this play, his fatal flaw is his susceptibility to flattery. Richard is led astray by flatterers to the extent that he can no longer rule his country, which means he falls prey to attack by others. He does not cultivate loyalty in his followers.
3. The tragic hero must suffer a reversal of his fortunes as a result of this fatal flaw. Again, in the play, Richard is deposed and ultimately killed because he does not possess the qualities...
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