King Lear is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, King Lear is the tragic hero as his foolish decision leads himself and many others to their ruin and deaths.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, first articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. For the storyboard above, students can use a template to storyboard the qualities that make King Lear a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes.
|ATTRIBUTE||DESCRIPTION||Example from King Lear|
|Hamartia||Hero's Flaw that Causes Downfall||King Lear’s pride and love of flattery leads him to bestow his wealth and power to his daughters based solely on how well they could flatter him with words.|
|Hubris||Excessive Pride||As a result of King Lear’s foolish game, Goneril and Regan receive equal shares in the kingdom. Angered by Cordelia’s refusal to participate, King Lear disinherits her, leaving her no other option than to marry the King of France and leave England in the hands of her power-hungry sisters.|
|Peripeteia||Reversal of Fortune||Goneril and Regan are allied in their quest to wrench full power from their father. They treat him terribly, remove the knights from his entourage, and lock up his servant in the stocks.|
|Anagnorisis||Moment of Critical Discovery||After Kent is locked in the stocks, King Lear seems to realize his grave mistake and rides off into a terrible storm. He is wild with grief and begins to lose his sanity.|
|Nemesis||Fate that Cannot be Avoided||While Lear realizes his wrongs, and he does eventually reconcile with Cordelia, Albany and Edmund’s forces are already too strong. They readily defeat Lear and Cordelia, and Edmund takes them prisoner.|
|Catharsis||Audience's Feeling of Pity or Fear After the Hero's Fall||While Edgar is able to expose Edmund’s lies for what he really is, it is too late: Edmund has already sent a guard to kill Cordelia and King Lear. King Lear kills the guard, but it isn’t in time to save Cordelia’s life. Heartbroken, King Lear dies while holding her body in his arms. The audience feels pity that Lear realized his mistakes, but won’t be given a chance to rectify them.|
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows how King Lear can be considered a tragic hero.
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Tragic HeroCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Tragic Hero Characteristics
The six tragic hero characteristics are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The explanation provided explains how the scenes depict each characteristic, and shows effective analysis.
Four or five tragic hero characteristics are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or some of the elements may not be identified correctly. The explanations give context to the scene, but may be minimal, and there is some attempt at analysis.
Two or three tragic hero characteristics are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or most of the elements are inaccurately depicted. The quotes and/or explanations are too minimal.
One or fewer tragic hero characteristics are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or most of the elements are inaccurately depicted. The quotes and/or explanations are minimal or missing altogether.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are accurate to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be accurate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is too limited or incomplete.
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.
Storyboard text is difficult to understand.