Christian Themes in a Pre-Christian Era - King Lear

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Shakespeare's King Lear, is a play that is made up of many Christian themes, despite the fact that the play is set in a pagan, Pre-Christian era. In the play, transgressions such as greed or lust connect to the ideas of sin. These are seen through characters such as Edmund, Goneril, and Regan. At other times, the idea of redemption and forgiveness are evident through characters such as Cordelia and Edgar. Both of these ideas are inherently Christian. Specific Christian themes of sin, punishment, and redemption are displayed throughout the play. In King Lear, various types of sin, such as greed and lust, tend to further the plot and bring forth more tragedy. Each character is faced with some sort of wickedness that will later affect them save Cordelia and Edgar who takes on a personification of divine love. Cordelia takes on this role by unconditionally loving her father and furthermore forgiving Lear for banishing her, which is seen when she says “No cause, no cause.” (4.7). Edgar takes on a similar role by forgiving his father for going against him when he was tricked by Edmund and taking care of Gloucester in his blindness at the end of the play. The other characters, however, give into temptation and sin more frequently. Pride, for example, is a prominent sin that affects many characters, Lear being a prime example. Lear's pride keeps him from listening to the advice of Kent, the king's most loyal follower, after he banishes Cordelia and admitting he may have been wrong. Because of this pride, he willingly submits himself to the corrupt will of his other two daughters. “What wouldst thous do, old man? Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor's bound when majesty falls to folly.” (1.1.146-151). Greed is another notable sin throughout the entire play and is embodied through Edmund, Gloucester's

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