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Tragedies In King Lear. Essay

884 words - 4 pages

"The theme of King Lear may be stated in psychological as well asbiological terms. So put, it is the destructive, the ultimatelysuicidal character of unregulated passion, its power to carryhuman nature back to chaos....The predestined end of unmastered passion is the suicide of thespecies. That is the gospel according to King Lear. The playis in no small measure an actual representation of that process.The murder-suicide of Regan-Goneril is an example. But it ismore than a picture of chaos and impending doom. What is theremedy for chaos? it asks. What can avert the doom? Thecharacters who have mastered their passions give us a glimpse ofthe answer to those questions."-Harold C. Goddard,The Meaning of Shakespeare, 1951Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear, is often thought of as not only one ofShakespeare's best works, but also one of his best "poems". The languagefollows in Shakespeare's trademark format using iambic pentameter in muchof the play. Shakespeare's It is we ll known for its many universalthemes. Some of these themes are: Dealing with he folly of old age and theingratitude of youth; Good versus evil; Nature; Vision and blindness; andFortune. These themes have been examined for hundreds of years in many different forums, but what makes this play so unique is the fact thatShakespeare incorporates all of these issues in just one tale.One character that examines some of these issues is a character namedKent. Kent is a significant character in King Lear, as he is involved fromthe beginning to the end. Kent is the ideal first mate to the commander ofthe ship of state. From the moment we meet him and observe his tactfulresponse to Gloucester's bawdy chatter, we know we can rely onthis good man. It doesn't take long for us to become better acquainted.When Lear banishes Cordelia, and Kent speaks up in her behalf, he is boldbut courteous. And he sticks to his guns, even at the risk of his ownbanishment. The measure of his devotionto his master, the king, is shown by his assumption of a disguise. Thisenables him to continue in Lear's service. There are several additionalfacets of Kent's personality. He can be hotheaded, as in the outburst thatinfuriates Lear in the very first s cene. And his treatment of Oswald ishardly gentle. Kent even shows a sense of humor in his lengthy descriptionof Goneril's steward. Kent is not a great philosopher, but he doesacknowledge that there are greater forces determining our fates. Heendures disfavor and discomfort stoically. His devotion and faithfulnessare always in our minds. In the midst of the final turmoil, we still havecompassion for Kent...

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