What does hamartia mean in literature?


Sep 11, 2022

Reading Time: 3 Min

Hamartia is a Greek word meaning “tragic flaw.” It is often used to describe the fatal flaw of a tragic hero. In literature, hamartia is used to create a tragic plot.

The term hamartia was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics. He said that hamartia is essential to a tragic plot. A tragic hero must have a tragic flaw, which causes him to fall from his position of power or greatness.

There are many examples of hamartia in literature. One classic example is from William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. In this play, Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his ambition. This ambition leads him to commit murder and other crimes, which eventually lead to his downfall.

Another example of hamartia can be found in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this novel, the character Jay Gatsby is obsessed with a woman named Daisy Buchanan. His obsession leads him to commit crime and ultimately leads to his death.

Hamartia is an important element in literature because it helps to create a sense of tragedy. Without hamartia, a story would not be as tragic or as interesting.

Other related questions:

What is hamartia with example?

Hamartia is a Greek word typically used to describe a tragic flaw in a character that leads to their downfall. An example of hamartia would be if a character is too trusting and this causes them to be taken advantage of and ultimately leads to their ruin.

What is hamartia in simple words?

Hamartia is a term often used in literature to refer to a tragic flaw or an error in judgment that leads to a character’s downfall.

Is hamartia a literary device?

Hamartia is a literary device that is often used in tragedy. It refers to a character flaw that leads to the character’s downfall.

Why do authors use hamartia?

There is no one answer to this question, as authors may use hamartia for a variety of reasons. Some may use it to create a tragic character who is ultimately doomed to fail due to their flaws, while others may use it to explore the idea of human fallibility and the ways in which we all make mistakes. Ultimately, it is up to the author to decide why they are using hamartia in their story.


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