This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

King Lear's Transition In Shakespeare's Play, King Lear

1096 words - 4 pages

King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear

In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Lear, takes the audience through his journey toward his enlightenment. At the beginning of the play Lear appears to be an arrogant man who is too much of the flesh. He associates money and power with love and respect. Thus, when Lear has given all this material possessions to his daughters, Goneril and Regan, he begins his long journey of self discovery. Through an analysis of two passages, one can see the transition of Lear from a man blinded by the flesh to a caring and compassionate madman that sees the truth.

The first passage comes from act I, scene iv. Lear's arrogance is illustrated in this passage as he commands nature to make Goneril infertile ; "Dry up in her organs of increase, / And from her derogate body never spring / A babe to honour her!..." (I.iv.245-258). As Lear speaks angrily to an external subject, nature, he is really speaking angrily inwardly to his subconscious. As seen in Oedipus Rex, the realisation of a truth is very painful process and often brings out strong emotions such as anger. Usually the truth is presented to a character in small increments so as not to overwhelm the character. Thus, the anger displayed by Lear is a reflection of the pain he feels from his daughter's betrayal.

The contrary of this is found in the second passage. In this scene the audience is shown humble Lear. When he says "Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son / Was kinder to his father than my daughters / Got 'tween the lawful sheets. / To't luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers." (IV.vi.110-114). This supports that Lear is much humbler. As seen in the first excerpt, Lear commanded nature to exact revenge upon his daughters for the crime they committed against them. However, in this scene the audience sees a more humble Lear who blames himself for the way his daughters turned out. The anger, brought forth by the realization of the truth, has humbled Lear; Thus, he no longer commands nature, but is confined to nature's laws.

Although it is evident that Lear's arrogance has been dissolved, Lear's perception of Goneril and Regan has not changed. In act I, scene iv, Lear describes how Goneril's evil deeds against him is "sharper than a serpent's tooth . . ." (I.iv.254). This is an accurate description of Goneril's role; In the story of Genesis, the serpent was a character that brought forth Adam and Eve's enlightenment to a higher state of consciousness. Similarly, in King Lear, the characters Goneril and Regan have forced the rebirth of Lear through their betrayal of their father.

Lear's speech in the first passage follows a well constructed, ten syllables per line, verse which is common to most of Shakespeare's characters. An example of this is when Lear says, "Into her womb convey sterility! / Dry up in her the organs of increase, / And from her derogate body never spring / . . ."...

Find Another Essay On King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear

Paratextuality in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

3319 words - 13 pages all of his plays are adapted from extant plays, renaissance romance novels, or even, as in the case I will be discussing today, old Norse sagas. King Lear was adapted from an earlier play, which was itself based on Holinshed’s chronicles. Second, popular adaptations by Tate and Colley Cibber, among others, by making Shakespeare accessible and tasteful to Restoration and Enlightenment audiences, played no small part in establishing

Transformation of Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear

1714 words - 7 pages King Lear is a Shakespearian tragedy revolving largely around one central theme, personal transformation. Shakespeare shows in King Lear that the main characters of the play experience a transformative phase, where they are greatly changed through their suffering. Through the course of the play Lear is the most transformed of all the characters. He goes through seven major stages of transformation on his way to becoming an omniscient character

Shakespeare's King Lear - Suffering of Cordelia in King Lear

1503 words - 6 pages of loyal obedience. He recognises the authority in Lear and relates to it by selfless devotion. In his confrontation with Lear over Cordelia's disinheritance, Kent shows the same adamancy as the King. He has the strength to speak out boldly, not the strength for powerful or effective action in life. Out of his affection for Cordelia and the King he transgresses his natural role in the court and denounces Lear's action as madness. &nbsp

Shakespeare's King Lear - Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear

952 words - 4 pages The Characters of Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear   Nothing makes a story like a good villain, or in this case, good villainess. They are the people we love to hate and yearn to watch burn. Goneril, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, is no exception. Her evils flamed from the very beginning of the play with her lack of sincerity in professing her love for her father: "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than

William Shakespeare's King Lear

1465 words - 6 pages William Shakespeare's King Lear In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear,the issue of sight on many levels is a recurring theme. Throughout the play Shakespeare shows that sight does not just come from the eyes. It is shown through the characters of Lear, Gloucester and how they compare to each other. Lear’s character is one that never learns what it means to see without ones eyes. Lear’s sight is hazed

Shakespeare's King Lear

1753 words - 7 pages Shakespeare's King Lear is known as one of his greatest tragedies. The story is full of misfortune, deception and death. The story also contains two plots, a main plot with King Lear, and a subplot with a character referred to as Gloucester. The main plot and subplot in King Lear may have minor differences but the two main characters of each plot share the same fundamental theme of blindness. The theme of a story is the main subject or idea the

William Shakespeare's King Lear

1641 words - 7 pages William Shakespeare's King Lear The locations in Shakespeare’s King Lear fall into three categories: inside a court, out in nature, and in-between nature and civilization. Lear himself also wavers between three states: sanity, senility, and the fine line between the two. These states of consciousness relate directly to the scenes’ locations. However, Lear’s insanity is not the fault of his location in the world; for the most part, he has

Essay on Blame in Shakespeare's King Lear

580 words - 2 pages King Lear is To Blame   In William Shakespeare's play, "King Lear", the main character, King Lear, claims to be "a man more sinned against than sinning"(3.2.60-61). Though a good king, King Lear's own actions cause his family and kingdom to fall apart. The sins committed against King Lear are a result of his personal faults of rashness, blindness, and foolishness.   King Lear's hot temper and hasty decisions play a

Clear Vision in Shakespeare's King Lear

1839 words - 7 pages Seeing Clearly in King Lear        King Lear of Britain, the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragic play of the same name undergoes radical change as a man, father and king as he is forced to bear the repercussions of his actions. Lear is initially portrayed as being an egotistical ruler, relying on protestations of love from his daughters to apportion his kingdom. Lear's tragic flaw is the division of his kingdom and his inability to see the

Action and Observation in Shakespeare's King Lear

2386 words - 10 pages . King Lear too, offers the audience several quite distinct paradigms of both observation and action, and crucially, it is on the varying successes of these models that the tragedy hinges.   One does not need to look far in King Lear for a figure that might fit Auden's mould. Kent surely embodies that which Schlegel termed the 'science of compassion' in the play.2 He is publicly traduced and humiliated by Lear in Act I, Scene 1, and yet

Universal Truth in Shakespeare's King Lear

631 words - 3 pages Universal Truth in King Lear   The warm, comforting sun has broken through the clouds, melting the ice that chokes the ground and bathing the world in its healing light. Likewise, King Lear has finally rid himself of his emotional shrouds and melted the ice that covers his heart. In Act 5, scene 3 lines 9-20, Lear explains how he and Cordelia will spend their time while imprisoned by Edmund - not burning with vitriolic hatred

Similar Essays

King Lear's Folly In Shakespeare's King Lear

1227 words - 5 pages King Lear's Folly    In Shakespeare's King Lear, the actions of King Lear and of his daughters bring ruin and chaos to England. Social structures crumble, foreign invaders threaten the land, and, in a distinctly non-Hollywood ending, almost everyone dies tragically. The outlook is very bleak, as many of the problems are left unresolved at the end of the play: There is no one in line to assume sovereignty, and justice and virtue have not

King Lear's Journey Through Hell In William Shakespeare's King Lear

1721 words - 7 pages King Lear's Journey Through Hell in William Shakespeare's King Lear Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is a detailed description of the consequences of one man's deci-sions. This fictitious man is Lear, King of England, whose decisions greatly change his life and the lives of those around him. As Lear takes on the rank of King he is, as one expects, a man of great power but he surrenders all of this power to his daughters as a reward for their

The Wisdom Of King Lear's Fool In Shakespeare's King Lear

2833 words - 11 pages The Wisdom of King Lear's Fool in Shakespeare's King Lear King Lear's fool is undoubtedly one of the wisest characters in the play. He is not only able to accurately analyze a situation which many other characters are blind to, but he is also able to foreshadow the actions of many characters and many other incidents to come. The main instruction the fool gives to the king is to beware of doing things that are unnatural, such as giving

Catahrsis In Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

916 words - 4 pages as the deaths of Lear, Edmund and the two evil sisters. According to Aristotle ?Tragedy should arouse the emotions of pity and fear, but in a healthy and balanced proportion.? King Lear does not fit into the Aristotle model of tragedy. According to Aristotle a tragic play should leave the audience free of stressed emotions and feelings at the end.The sense of catharsis in King Lear can be seen from a different perspective if each character is