Hamartia is another term for a "tragic flaw." Heroes in literary works often have hamartia, or a tragic flaw, that leads to their downfall. Often, this flaw is a character flaw-pride, excessive passion. Sometimes, the tragic flaw is a physical trait.
A hero is blinded by his loyalty to his best friend, even though his friend is working to betray him.
A heroine is so consumed with pride in her own beauty that she falls willingly into the trap set by the evil witch.
Examples of Hamartia from Literature and Film
Snow White's flaw is that she is too trusting, and she willingly takes a poisoned apple from the disguised queen.
The Beast in Beauty and the Beast nearly destroys himself due to his pride-first because he is cursed by the sorceress and then because he won't let Belle see the real person that he is.
In Frozen, Elsa nearly destroys her sister and her kingdom because she refuses to accept herself-love herself and allow others to love her in return.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy are both hampered by their pride and their prejudice toward each other.
In Frankenstein, Victor's pride, and his belief that he can "play God" lead him to create a monster that hunts him.
In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' pride causes him to ignore the prophecies of the gods and he ends up causing all of the prophecies to be fulfilled.
Literary Terms Examples