Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and King Lear share many similarities. One prevalent similarity is the theme of betrayal and revenge and how betrayal leads to karmic justice through revenge. Both plays are well known Shakespearean tragedies revolving around the affairs of noble families(wracked with greed) in charge of powerful kingdoms. The plays both possess main characters who betray their family for personal gain, an upsetting of the natural order due to betrayals, and revenge for committed betrayals.
Most often, people betray each other for their own personal gain. Usually, this gain is some form of power. Two examples of this are Goneril and Regan’s lying and Claudius’ murdering of his own ...view middle of the document...
These character’s insanity is an example of the vile act of betrayal upsetting the natural order. Another example of the natural order being broken is demonstrated by the rulers of the kingdoms changing. In King Lear, Lear starts in control and relinquishes it to his daughters. Eventually when the daughters power struggle results in the death of almost all of the main characters, Albany seizes the throne with a heavy heart for what transpired. In Hamlet, a similar situation occurs. Hamlet’s father is murdered by Claudius, who runs things while Hamlet learns the secret of his father’s death. Then, in a rage, Hamlet kills Claudius and is poisoned by Laertes. Ultimately, everyone eligible for the throne is dead and Norway seizes the throne for Prince Fortinbras. Both books have a kingdom ruled by a single, powerful ruler, power being usurped from them, and a new ruler seizing control.
Although revenge isn’t a major theme in King Lear, revenge usually follows betrayal and it plays a big part in Hamlet. In King Lear, the character who actively seeks revenge(while brooding and plotting for his father’s power) is Edmund. Edmund is the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester and is reminded of the fact by almost everyone, including his own father.
GLOU. “His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to
acknowledge him that now I am brazed to it.”
KENT. “I cannot conceive you.”
GLOU. “Sir, this young fellow’s mother could: whereupon she grew
round-wombed, and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a
husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?”
KENT. “I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.”
GLOU. “But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet
is no dearer in my account: though this knave came something saucily into
the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was
good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you...