King Lear as a Bradley Tragedy
King Lear meets all the requirements of a tragedy as defined by Andrew Cecil Bradley. Bradley states that a Shakespearean tragedy has to be the story of the hero and there is exceptional suffering and calamity slowly being worn in. Also, the current time must be contrasted to happier times. The play also depicts the troubled parts in the hero’s life and eventually he dies instantaneously because of the suffering and calamity. There is the feeling of fear in the play as well, that makes men see how blind they are not knowing when fortune or something else would be on them. The hero must be of a high status on the chain and the hero must also possess a tragic flaw that initiates the tragedy. The fall of the hero is not felt by him alone but creates a chain reaction that affects everything below him. There must also be the element of chance or accident that influences some point in the play. King Lear meets all of these requirements, which have been laid out by Bradley.
The main character of the play would be King Lear who in terms of Bradley would be the hero and hold the highest position is the social chain. Lear, out of pride and anger, has banished Cordelia and split the kingdom in half between the two older sisters, Goneril and Regan. This is Lear’s tragic flaw that prevents him from seeing the true faces of people because his pride and anger overrides his judgement. As we see in the first act, Lear does not listen to Kent’s plea to see closer to the true faces of his daughters. Kent has hurt Lear’s pride by disobeying his order to stay out of his and Cordelia’s way when Lear has already warned him, “the bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft” (act…
1. When organizing your paper, instead of lumping all of the elements randomly into paragraphs spend a paragraph discussing each one. By spending a paragraph on each element you can fully look at each element separately, discussing why that element is important to the development of tragedy and to this particular plot. However, because you have so many elements listed, it would be impossible to spend a well-developed paragraph on each one. Therefore, take three or four elements that you feel are the most important and write your paper on them. You do not have to discuss every element. For example you could write your paper discussing the tragic flaw, the element of chance and the ultimate fall of the tragic hero.
2. When quoting you need to cite the act, scene and line numbers from the play.