by Adam Huddleston
This week’s literary term is: hamartia. It is also referred to as a “tragic flaw.” A hamartia is an aspect of the protagonist which can hinder their progress or possibly bring about their downfall. This “tragic flaw” can be external, but more often than not, it is an internal characteristic. For example, hubris (ego or pride) is one of the more commonly seen problems with characters. This inflated sense of oneself may lead to unwise decisions.
One of the positive results of utilizing a character’s hamartia, is that they are more relatable. Readers like to see a hero that suffers from the same issues that they do. This can increase suspense for the reader because they may realize that the protagonist could ultimately fail due to their flaws.
Hopefully, the use of hamartia in your writing will help flesh out your characters and make the story more enjoyable. Happy writing!