Honesty At The Mercy Of Disguise King Lear Shakespeare Corrections Made By Teacher Have Been Made On Essay.

1194 words - 5 pages

Honesty at the Mercy of Disguise. In Shakespeare's King Lear the element of disguise is literal. Through out his play Shakespeare demonstrates that disguise can be detrimental and helpful. King Lear falls for each form of disguise as it presents itself to him. Lear fails to recognize the truth, which ultimately brings upon his demise. Gloucester, Lear's parallel, also fails to notice his son in disguise, leading to his mental downfall. Gloucester's son, Edmund disguises his deceit and treacherous plans, by pawning his "legitimate [brother] Edgar," (I, II, 16), forcing him into disguise. Edgar disguises himself as a mad beggar, to protect himself from his father, who sees him as an "Abominable villain!" (I, II, 78). Edgar's disguise also is used to protect his father from committing suicide, after Lear's two evil daughters "pluck out his eyes."(III, VII, 5). Two of King Lear's three daughters use kind loving words to disguise their true devious plans and disloyalty to their father. Kent, Lear's loyal adviser, warned him against his seemingly loving daughters. "Now, banished Kent, If [he] canst serve where [he] dost stand condemned…[his] master…shall find [him] full of labors." (I, IV, 4-7). Kent keeps his disguise well after it is needed, to serve Lear further, also to ensure he will not be punished by death. Without the honest men in the kingdom, all sanity among the great powers diminishes.Kent's honesty in his contradiction to Lear's decision heavily offends Lear. Kent as a loyal and true advisor of Lear has put himself "between the Dragon and his wrath" (I, I, 124). Lear orders Kent to "[Get] Out of [his] sight!" (I, I, 159). Kent's dedication to Lear surpasses any order that has been given to him; Kent disguises himself as Caius in order to further his services to his King. The exile of the Earl of Kent was a decision made in "hideous rashness" (I, I, 153). Kent, aware of Lear's mistake, feels obliged to help the King, knowing the natural order of the kingdom is in jeopardy. Kent uses a disguise of a person of service in a low class, rather than a member of the court, as he was prior to being banished. The disguised Kent "...profess[es] to be no less than [he] seem[s]" (I, IV, 12). His service is of the kind "...which ordinary men are fit for..." (I, IV, 32). Kent serves Lear to the best of his ability in disguise and out. Kent's superlative efforts to protect Lear's life and remains of his Kingship from his evil daughters, in Lear's state of madness, illustrates ample loyalty to the King.Edgar demonstrates ample loyalty to his father, Gloucester. After his brother, Edmund convinces their father of a "Conspiracy [that he will] 'Sleep till [Edgar] wake[s] him,'" (I, II, 55). Forcing Edgar to disguise himself, he "take[s] the basest and most poorest shape" (II, III, 7) Edgar's disguise is justified through self preservation, he would have been killed if he remained as Edgar. Through Edmund's persuasion, Gloucester is convinced...

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