A Comparison Of The Outcomes Of Othello And King Lear

558 words - 2 pages

The Tragic Outcome of Othello and King Lear


Two Sources        In Othello and Lear, Shakespeare contrasts two endings that tragedy can bring.  As Lear is thrown from kingship, he begins to see through his previous misconceptions about love, justice, and the nature of authority.  Othello, on the other hand, held no real misconceptions about the world.  He begins the tragedy nearly perfect, already a realist, knowing, for instance, that he is safe from scandal because of his ability as a general.  The tragedy that befalls Othello cannot lead to any radically different awareness, and while Othello sees a few things more clearly is his death, such as his role in society, he is principally simply in despair.  Those who are furthest from the truth have the most to gain from the tragic cycle.


            Lear opens the play with the standard Shakespearean equation of appearance equals reality.  In order to determine how his power and land is to be distributed he asks his daughters to tell him how much they love him, blatantly asking them to put honesty and morality before their self-interest.  He believes, apparently, that they will do so, in that he rewards the daughters who give him the most overblown imagery and metaphor in describing their love.  When the daughter he ought to know loves him most gives the simplest and least overdone explanation of her love, he disinherits her for it.  He then procedes to exile his best and most honest advisor and stomps off.  Lear has a lot to learn here about who is telling the truth when and how you can tell.  Lear's subsequent downfall leads him to reconsider his actions...

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