Character Analysis: King Lear

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King Lear is the title character of the play, so it is obvious he is pretty important. And in the play, he definitely knows it. This is evidenced by his inflated sense of self; he has such an ego that he wants to hear his daughters profess their love for him, saying “Which of you shall we say doth love us most,” (Act I Scene I Line 51) and when one refuses, disowns her, as well as banishing his best friend for disagreeing with him. However, these rash actions suggest something more to me. I think that inside, Lear is insecure. He has a ton of power, but that is all he really has. This also would explain why he wants to keep the title King, as seen in Act I Scene I Lines 140-141 “Only we still retain the name and all the additions to a king,” but give up the responsibility. He doesn’t want the work, but without being the King, he is nothing, and has no way to identify himself. More than these, I think Lear is motivated by his idea that he is a good man. One thing that supports is when Kent says “I’ll tell thee thou dost evil,” (Act I, Scene I, Line 175) and Shakespeare writes the king as reacting in a frenzy, going so far as to say “This moment is thy death,” (Act I, Scene I, Line 190). By portraying the king in this way, Shakespeare causes us to judge him as unstable and mental. While his actions thus far have been rash, him reacting in this way, and him banishing his daughter saying, “Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood,” (Act I, Scene I, Lines 117-118). From these thing, it is made clear that Lear is not only rash and insecure but also thoughtless and stupid. Based on these pieces of textual evidence, I think it is clear that King Lear is motivated by his self-concern, and nothing more. Shakespeare causes us to think this through both his words and his actions throughout Act
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