All terms

What is Harmartia?

Tragic flaw.

The Tragic Flaw: A Fatal Imperfection

In Greek tragedy, the harmartia is the 'fatal flaw' or 'tragic flaw' that leads to the downfall of the protagonist.

This imperfection can take many forms, such as hubris (excessive pride), hamartia (moral weakness), or a poor decision - all of which ultimately lead to the character's undoing.

This concept of a character's tragic flaw has been widely adopted and utilized in many forms of literature, allowing writers to explore the complexities of human nature and the inherent flaws within us all.

The Harmartia in Famous Literary Works

One of the most influential concepts in literature, the harmartia is a powerful tool used by authors to create complex and flawed characters that resonate with readers.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Oedipus' relentless pursuit of the truth and his refusal to acknowledge the warnings of the blind seer Tiresias demonstrate his hamartia, or fatal flaw, of pride or hubris.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth's ambition and desire for power leads to his downfall, as he becomes increasingly ruthless and paranoid after committing regicide and securing the throne by any means necessary, ultimately leading to his tragic end.