Throughout the novel, Arthur struggles with his ego and realizes only at the end of his life that he is self-involved, and that chasing fame is an empty pursuit. Up until his death, he cheats on the women he loves and breaks their hearts by leaving them abruptly. These heartbreaks often catalyze great change in the women, such as Miranda’s evolution into a powerful executive and artist after she leaves Arthur. He uses his childhood friend, Victoria, as a literal diary by sending letters to her even when she doesn’t reply. Victoria, too, wrests back her power from this situation by publishing those letters to her benefit and to Arthur’s shame. When he meets with Clark, he is more focused on appearances and on the attention of strangers than he is on one of his oldest friends. Flawed as he is, Arthur serves as the lynchpin for the entire book. Though he often fails to appreciate his life or the people he loves, his kindness and generosity also touch many people, including Kirsten. Like King Lear, the Shakespeare character he inhabits when he dies, Arthur only realizes the error of his ways when it is too late. He looks back on his life and is filled with regret. Arthur sees that he has lived a life in pursuit of empty thrills. In essence, he betrays the people he loved, plays a role of himself instead of being authentic, and is so self-absorbed that he cannot appreciate the life he created. But like Kirsten, he takes comfort in small beauties. At the end of his life, he is fully absorbed in acting. He finds peace while doing what he loves,  not for fame or for appearances but for the art itself.