Tragic flaw is a literary device that can be defined as a trait in a man or woman leading to his downfall, and the person is frequently the hero of the literary piece. This trait could be the lack of self-knowledge, lack of judgment, and often it is hubris (pride).
The Greek phrase for Tragic flaw is hamaratia or hamartanein, which means “to err.” It become Aristotle who delivered this time period first in his e-book Poetics, and his concept become that it's far an “errors of judgment” on the part of a hero that brings his downfall. A tragic flaw is also referred to as a “deadly flaw” in literature and films. This is taken as a faulty trait inside the person of the hero.
Examples of Tragic Flaw in Literature
Example #1: Oedipus Rex (By Sophocles)
“Aye, and on thee in all humility
I lay this charge: allow her who lies within
Receive such burial as thou shalt ordain…
But for myself, O in no way let my Thebes…
The burden of my presence while I live…
God pace thee! And as meed for bringing them
May Providence cope with thee kindlier
Than it has dealt with me …
His will become set forth fully — to destroy
The parricide, the scoundrel; and I am he…
But I am the gods’ abhorrence.”
Tragic flaw examples are found in tragedies – and Oedipus Rex is the main play this is set as a yardstick.
Oedipus is an excellent example of getting a tragic flaw in this well-known Greek tragedy. The reason of his downfall became his inadvertent wrongdoings. The hubris of Oedipus is the reason which made him disobey the prophecy of the gods. Ironically, he ended up doing what he become terrified of the most, such that he became an abhorrence to the gods, in his very own words.
Example #2: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
“To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the thoughts to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms towards a sea of troubles
And via opposing cease them. To die, to sleep…
No more; and by means of a sleep to mention we give up
The heart-ache and the thousand herbal shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep…”
In Hamlet, the tragic flaw determines his downfall in the play. And his tragic flaw is his indecisiveness, which is due to grave thinking on the subject of whether or not vengeance is wrong or right, and whether to kill his father’s assassin or not. In the path of time, his relationship along with his mother is spoiled, and Ophelia commits suicide. He well-knownshows this indecisiveness on this excerpt.
Example #3: Dr. Faustus (By Christopher Marlowe)
“But Faustus’ offense can ne’er be pardoned;
The serpent that tempted Eve can be saved,
But not Faustus … God forbade it indeed but Faustus hath completed it. For
the vain delight of 4 and two decades hath Faustus
lost eternal pleasure and felicity … Fair nature’s eye, upward push, rise again and make
Perpetual day. Or permit this hour be but a year,
A month, a week, a natural day,
That Faustus may repent and save his soul
O mercy, heaven! Look no longer so fierce on me … I’ll burn my books.”
The man or woman of Dr. Faustus is also considered one of the nice examples of tragic flaw. The tragic flaw of Dr. Faustus is his bold nature to analyze. He made a agreement with Lucifer and offered his soul on this connection. Finally, his soul is taken to hell, and then he realizes his sin and repents however it became too late.
Function of Tragic Flaw
Tragic flaw is used for moral purposes, with the intention to encourage the target audience to improve their characters and put off the failings which can bring their downfall in life. The readers and the audience can perceive themselves with the tragic hero, since it imparts feelings of pity and fear amongst them, thereby finishing their catharsis – or in other words, they're purged of awful emotions. Therefore, they are able to study a moral lesson so that they might not take pleasure in similar movements in future.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw