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Fatal Flaw

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Characters > Fatal Flaw

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The hero is nearly perfect, but has some limiting feature by which they may fail. The fatal flaw can indeed be fatal, although more often it is something that causes surmountable problems as the hero struggles to cope with the flaw.

Example

In Lord of the Rings, Boromir tries to take the ring from Frodo. Frodo is eventually overcome by the power of the ring.

Discussion

Perfect people are boring. The fatal flaw creates interest, realism and tension in what might otherwise be a 2D character.

Achilles' heel is a fatal flaw that is used as a term of description for the condition. Achilles was invulnerable except for his heel. Eventually he was struck in the heel by an arrow and was killed.

Villains can have a kind of reverse fatal flaw, for example where they have a redeeming feature by which their villainy is not absolute.

The Greek term for the fatal flaw is Hamartia and also includes the principles of mistakes, accidents and doing the wrong things, including through ignorance.

See also

2D and 3D characters, Heroic characters, The 'Other' in Story

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