Is King Lear a tragic hero?

Expert Answers info

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,297 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

A tragic hero is a protagonist that has a fatal (tragic) flaw; usually, the audience finds sympathy with the hero. 

At the beginning of the play, Lear seems like a fine ruler and in his generosity, he decides to divide his kingdom equally among his daughters. But then he encourages his daughters to compete by pledging their love for him. When Cordelia refuses to make overly dramatic praises, as her sisters do, Lear's pride takes over and he essentially disowns her and then banishes her.

                      The barbarous Scythian,

Or he that makes his generation messes

To gorge his...

(The entire section contains 462 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

perfect0712 | Student

The tragedy of King Lear is because of his inability to recognize reality, or to see things for what they really are. It is ironic that he believes Goneril's and Regan's lies about their love for him; while he falsely accuses Cordelia of being disloyal, when in fact, she turns out to be the only one of the three who loves him.

arjun | Student

King Lear  is a tragic hero.In the beginning, he rules with mighty but when he divides his kingdom and deprives Cordelia of her share ,he seems to be a great cruel.Afterwards,the reaction of his daughters really suffer him a lot. His condition,becoming mad ,the death of Cordelia and at last his death really wins sympathies from the audience and we can call him a tragic hero.