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“Each Character In King Lear Has Control Over Their Fate. The Fate Of Each Character Is Determined By The Events That Occur In Act One Of The Play” To What Extent Do You Agree With This?

1006 words - 4 pages

Chloe Stone"Each character in King Lear has control over their fate. The fate of each character is determined by the events that occur in act one of the play" - To what extent do you agree with this?Fate has proven to be a very important theme throughout many of Shakespeare's plays. In King Lear fate plays a particularly important role, as many critics would agree that the fate of each character is determined by events that occur in act one of the play. I do agree with this statement, although I also agree to an extent that the fate of some characters was inevitable. The characters in the play view their lives as caught in a pattern they have no power to change, just as the stars in their courses are fixed in the skies.Like in Romeo and Juliet the fate of some main characters can be seen as being dependent on their choice of actions. Just as Romeo and Juliet's decision to elope and fake their own deaths leads to their actual deaths, Cordelia and King Lear's actions lead to negative events that occur later on in the play and, eventually, lead to their own deaths too. At the start of the play Cordelia chooses not to go along with her father's request of declaring her undying love to him, and because of this Lear chooses to banish Cordelia and swears "by all the operation of the orbs from whom we exist and cease to be" that his decision "shall not be revoked". Some critics believe that Cordelia is very much like her father and this is why Lear took it so bad when Cordelia refuses to express her love. Like in Julius Caesar where Caesar says "For I am constant as the Northern star" Lear vows to be persistent and unwavering but dies regretting his decision at the hands of his daughters who claim to love him "more than word can wield" and are "alone felicitate" in his presence. This sets the play in motion and already sets their fate in a different direction.Cordelia ends up marrying the King of France and it seems as if her fate has taken a positive direction. King Lear decides to divide her portion of the kingdom between Goneril and Regan, who plot to get rid of their father, because he is "full of the changes of age..." The only one who seems to realize the gravity of Lear's predicament is his fool. When Lear stays with Goneril Lear's fool tells him he has "Made thy daughters thy mothers" and that now he has only "that [he] was born with". Goneril and Regan use their newly won powers to plot against their father. Lear quickly realizes this and his mistake to banish Cordelia, but having given away his thrown and therefore his power over them, Lear is as helpless as a child. Goneril begins to refer to Lear as being in his "dotage", that "old fools are babes again" Goneril and Regan's plotting...

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