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A Great Tragedy:
The good misunderstood and the evil accepted
Shakespeare’s King Lear and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a detailed description of the consequences of one mans decisions that ends in a tragedy. Lear and Faustus decisions greatly alter their lives and the lives of those around them. These two stories are defined as tragedies because they meet the criteria of what a tragic hero stands for, i.e. a hero is larger than life, and both stories have a tragic fall caused by some error or moral weakness. It is not till the end of the plays that the honest people are recognized. The stories reveal a fatal error in judgement and a character flaw, which causes their downfall, suffering and enlightenment.
In the opening of Shakespeare’s King Lear the first error in judgement is introduced in scene 1.1 lines 95-98, where Cordelia confesses her love for her father.
Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, loved me;
I return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Cordelia understands her position and accepts her duty without question. Lear ignores the fact that cordelia is pouring her heart out and confessing her unconditional love for him and in return he turns his back on her. Cordelia was prideful, and even a fool in her response, but I believe she was simply being honest and true. I believe this is the beginning of his downfall, which will lead him on a path of suffering. Lear made a monumental mistake when he handed over his kingship to his two evil daughters, Regan and Goneril. This is what eventually led him to his mental breakdown and the deaths of many individuals. If he had only choose to keep control over his kingdom or to give up control to someone trustworthy, then his suffering would have been reduced. Faustus much like Lear has made an error in judgement when he chooses to ignore the advice of the fictional Good and Bad Angels and the old man. The ...
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