The audience can watch the hamartia grow throughout the course of the play. The word hamartia originated from a Greek verb meaning to miss the mark, or to err, however writers would use the word to describe a tragic flaw, a personal quality or characteristic that leads the main character, or protagonist, to make choices that ultimately lead to his or her own downfall. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the flaw in question is unchecked, unbridled ambition. Macbeth, a courageous Scottish general, is not naturally inclined to commit evil and appears loyal to his king. But when he receives a prophecy that he would eventually be the king, Macbeth’s out-of-control drive and aspiration ignite a chain of events and horrible crimes that spin out of control, destroying the lives of others and drowning Macbeth in frantic, boastful madness. My nightmare of an English teacher would be so pleased that I remembered all of that.
It has been said that tragedy is a calamity that results from a wrong decision from a flawed character. King Saul was such a character. When we are first introduced to this man, we find him willingly obeying the request of his father to “Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.” While seeking his father’s lost donkeys, Saul approaches the prophet Samuel, who shocks Saul by informing him that God had hand-chosen him to be the first king of Israel. “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel: and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? You can’t possibly mean me; I am a nobody.
But what begins with such promise for Saul and his nation quickly descends into defeat and disgrace, due to Saul’s tragic flaws, the pride, self-will, and jealousy that would eventually envelop his reign. Once again Samuel would be used of God to pronounce Saul’s fate, “the LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou.” God would seek out a man “after his own heart.” Saul’s tragic flaws would result in the end his reign.
Receiving the gift of salvation by no way ends our battle with our flesh, sin, and temptation, for in a sense, the battle has just begun. We all have our own personal tragic flaw and our fallen nature does not relinquish control of our lives easily, resulting in all-out war, so that “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” But our “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” and when I submit my self-will to His Lordship, when I claim His resurrection power, when I hide His Word “in mine heart,” He can make my actions, decisions, and attitudes pleasing to Him, and give me victory over my tragic flaw.
I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, YOU are my victory, my strength, my power to overcome sin in my life. Help me to allow the Spirit to control me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3147-62b93b0ed350c' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3147&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3147-62b93b0ed350c' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3147-62b93b0ed350c' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>