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

The Development Of The Character Of King Lear

1597 words - 6 pages

“King Lear” is one of the most complicated of all Shakespeare's plays. It is about political authority as much as it is about family dynamics. It is a ruthless play, filled with human cruelty and awful, nonsensical disasters.
Lear, an autocratic leader, is the king of Britain and has three daughters, Regan, Cordelia and Goneril. Regan and Goneril are cold, heartless and selfish, whereas Cordelia, the youngest is quite the contrary, honest, realistic and straightforward.
Lear is introduced with trumpets and crown. The symbol of his authority is carried before him. This gives the audience the picture of a King who can command respect and has the ability to speak with eminence. His first form of speech is spoken with the royal `we': “Meanwhile, we shall express our darker purpose.” Lear uses a lot of commanding language for example “Give me the map there...'
This language gives the audience the impression that Lear is a King not to be tempered with. He knows how to use his authority to his full advantage and he uses it quite successfully. Lear gives a formal announcement about the division of his kingdom. It is to be shared between his three daughters, and Lear means to give the best portion to the most deserving - the one who can make the greatest show of love, who in his heart he hopes will be Cordelia. He has already apportioned the land between his daughters, so the `love test' is in fact meaningless: but the king enjoys flattery! The `love test' shows us how foolish and egotistic Lear can be at times. Being deceitful as they are, Goneril and Regan readily play their part, giving a fulsome description of their love that quickly wins their father's approval. Cordelia answers her father plainly, with sincerity, intelligence and real love. She answers: “nothing” and “I love your majesty according to my bond; no more no less” but Lear does not understand this. He is disappointed and he feels rejected- so he in turn rejects his daughter. His language is as violent as hers is plain; where Cordelia spoke of the simple, natural relationships of parent and child. He confesses his love for her; he is too emotional to be ware of his actions: “I loved her most, and thought to set my rest on her kind nursery.”
At the beginning of the play Lear speaks with measured dignity and authority, even after he has resigned all power along with his kingdom. He is seen as `an old man full of changes and liable to constant stars', in the eyes of Goneril and Regan. Kent who we see as loyal and honest and very protective of Lear is disguised as a witty persona to encourage Lear to allow him to remain near by. He respects Lear's authority. Lear responds to Kent's language with informality and lightheartedness, even when Kent risked the king' displeasure with the joke about Lear being poor, but Lear responds with good humor. There is the theme of the natural order being overturned when Oswald behaves insolently to Lear, he seems to be enjoying his rebellious role....

Find Another Essay On The Development of the Character of King Lear

“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

“Each character in King Lear has control over their fate. The fates of each character are determined by events which occur in the opening scenes of the play.” To what extent do you agree with this...

1317 words - 5 pages "Each character in King Lear has control over their fate. The fates of each character are determined by events which occur in the opening scenes of the play."To what extent do you agree with this statement?Freewill and fate are themes which are frequently discussed in reference to Shakespeare's plays. He often makes the audience wonder whether the characters ever had a choice in how their stories would end. King Lear's decision to abdicate the

traglear Tragic Character in King Lear

945 words - 4 pages The Tragic Character in King Lear In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the similar events that Lear and Gloucester experience result in a parallel plot sequence for the story. Lear and Gloucester are similar characters because they are experiencing similar problems while playing the role of a father. Their children also have a similar eagerness for power, a problem that both Lear and Gloucester should not have to deal with while addressing

Character Similarity in Shakespeare's King Lear

1676 words - 7 pages There are billions of people in the entire world, however, chances such as certain individual shares the same personality, height, or hobbies of other people who live in the opposite extreme of the globe is ultimately bizarre. In a similar idea, a William Shakespeare’s play, entitled King Lear demonstrates the similarities of people, particularly through the work of relativeness that runs in blood. The play revolves around King Lear and his

The Nature of King Lear

1071 words - 4 pages The most prevailing images in King Lear are the images (metaphoric and actual) of nature. The concept of nature seems to consume the dialogue, monologues, and setting. It might be useful to view nature as `the natural order of the world' (and, perhaps, the universe). When one goes against the natural order, chaos will follow. Shakespeare has made this point clear in "Troilus and Cressida" where Ulysses predicts that once "the specialty of

The Tragedy of King Lear

1029 words - 5 pages Gonorill. Regan. Cordelia. Those names should ring a bell if you have ever read or seen “The Tragedy of King Lear.” The plot behind this play revolves around King Lear’s relationships with each of these three characters; his daughters. King Lear has a different relationship with each of them. Gonorill, Regan and Cordelia all have very distinct personalities. In this play, King Lear decided it was time to give up and divide his kingdom amongst

The Reinvention of King Lear

2118 words - 8 pages The Reinvention of King Lear         On any given night within the global theatre community, chances are good that somewhere upon a stage there is at least one production of a Shakespearean play being performed, and whether it is Hamlet set in Nazi Germany (Eine Klein Hamlet) or The Tempest reworked as children's theatre (The Island of Anyplace), this production is, more often than not, a new interpretation of the ancient text. While the

Purpose of the Fool of King Lear

1161 words - 5 pages at noon" (III. IV. 84), that last we hear of him. The Fool means that everything is in chaos that he is going to 'bed at noon.' He leaves because Lear has gained the insight he needs and is capable of seeing things for himself now; the Fool's purpose is served.The name Fool means nothing. As the most intelligent and insightful character and provides simple and clear reasoning for a King with limited vision. The Fool is loyal to the bitter end and

Overview of the plot of King Lear

1578 words - 6 pages The ageing King Lear, no longer wishing to bear the burdens of kingship, announces that he intends to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. Each must state how much she loves him - he will then judge which daughter loves him best. The winner of the 'love test' will receive the largest portion of his kingdom. Goneril and Regan flatter their father and are duly rewarded, but Cordelia, Lear's youngest and favourite daughter, is unable to

King Lear and the Genre of Tragedy

1299 words - 6 pages A tragedy is a genre typically defined as a play that deals with a series of events that lead to the downfall of the hero. Written between 1604 and 1606, ‘King Lear’ falls into the genre of tragedy, depicting the destruction and downfall of the main character (Abrams). The play centres on Lear, an aging king who, in his retirement, decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters while retaining the title and privileges of being king

King Lear and the Theme of Tragedy

1175 words - 5 pages A tragedy is a genre typically defined as a play that deals with a series of events that lead to the downfall of the hero. Written between 1604 and 1606, ‘King Lear’ falls into this genre of tragedy, depicting the destruction and demise of the main character (Abrams). The play centres on Lear, an aging king who, in his retirement, decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters while retaining the title and privileges of being king

Similar Essays

"What Do We Learn About The Character Of King Lear By The End Of Act1, Scene1 Of Shakespeare's King Lear"

672 words - 3 pages and perhaps his expectation of being obeyed. One can clearly an arrogance and belief of superiority over others as he bids the Lords of France and Burgundy to "attend" him. As Lear declares "Know that we have divided / In three our kingdom," his use of the pronoun "we" instead of "I" also emphasises his royalty. The fact that Lear's opening speech is delivered in formal blank verse also implies Lear's character has supremacy over the common

A Comparison Of The Plot Development Of King Lear And Much Ado About Nothing

1179 words - 5 pages There are many things that you have to consider when you are writing a play or a story, about anything. The most important thing to consider when writing something is the plot development and how you are going to set everything up to make the ending fabulous! The play King Lear by William Shakespeare, and the play Much Ado About Nothing also by Shakespeare are very good examples of a writer setting up a play with a well thought out plot

Comparision Of The Tragic Characters In Othello And King Lear In Accordance With Aspects Of A Tragic Character

1842 words - 7 pages trumpets, signifying his importance. Furthermore, the language spoken by Lear and his daughters is high and courtly, as opposed to the prose spoken by other characters in the play. This language emphasizes the high rank of the king.Although Othello and King Lear are presented as men of high degree, they are both not perfect; each one possesses some traits that lessen their character. Othello is not all good or bad. He may be valiant and courageous, yet

Character Analysis: King Lear

1637 words - 7 pages The character King Lear represents an allegorical shift from the illiterate, Medieval Age to the literate, Renaissance Age. To illustrate this argument, King Lear needs to be read as a Renaissance play that occurred in a previous “imagined pagan time.” (Lawrence, Gods, 156) As a pagan king, Lear is seen in the realm of the Roman gods and their shame culture. The role of gods in Lear’s decision making are interwoven throughout the play as Lear