Bad company corrupts good character. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White, tells of an ill made night whose name was Lancelot. Lancelot’s displeasing appearance required that he do something with his life that did not have a prerequisite for a pretty face, or charming looks; he needed something that took the eyes off of him, and on to the actions he preformed. Knighthood fit that bill very well.
Claudius, Hamlet's uncle is the most serious offender of lying and deceit. Although he has committed the most heinous acts, Claudius is the only characters who develops a guilty conscious as a result of dis devious actions. As each of the main characters develops on social, moral and psychological levels, lying and deception is an ever present theme and an integral part of the plot. From his very first scene in the play, Prince Hamlet establishes himself as someone who is morally opposed to deception. When Hamlet's uncle and mother urge him to “cast [his] nighted color off,” (Shakespeare 1.2.68) and stop acting and appearing so depressed, he replies that his “inky cloak.../ [and] river in the eye.../ are actions that a man might play” (Shakespeare 1.2.78-84).
On meeting Gloucester he draws attention to the letter by seeming to want to hide it. The fake letter contains a plan by Edgar planning the murder of his own father. The gulling of Gloucester is complete. What had previously appeared to be love and respect soon turns to disrespect and hatred. Lear begins to realise that he has made terrible errors of judgement.
After he abdicates his power, Lear still acts authoritarian and kingly, despite having no real power. King Lear lives in a deluded perception of reality, unexposed to a life with hardships and without absolute power. One example of his deluded reality is that he appreciates the superficial praise from his two ungrateful daughters more than the true but tempered affection of his good daughter. When Lear is denied by Goneril and forced to leave against his will, he is furiously resistant, coping with both the betrayal of his daughter as well as the realization that he lacks absolute authority. The most notable moment of Lear’s madness being reasonable is when Lear finds Gloucester and Edgar in Act 4, Scene 6.
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.
This is evident throughout the entire poem when he does nothing but stand by his son. Then on the other hand, there are kings like King Creon from the play “Antigone” written by Sophocles. Creon is such a cruel king that his followers, and his family resent him. These two men are both of equal character, but their followers view them in completely different ways. Priam is a believer of his gods, and his
Antigone was very heroic and brave at first, Creon now punishes her, and she does not fight back, but she simply badmouths her father. “O Oedipus, father and brother your marriage strikes from the grave to murder mine (7.40-41) says a coward Antigone. Creon, on the other hand who is supposed to be the strong king of the land, does not manage to control his anger, and fights his own son in an argument. This can be considered a sense of pride, since Creon did not want to change his opinion. Part of being a tragic hero is having a destruction.
In Richard III, Shakespeare gives an account of Richard's character that was popular opinion of him as an evil deformed schemer, until late in the 20th century. Historians now view this account as a dramatic plot device, necessary for the “villain role” that Shakespeare had given him. It is not consistent with what is now known of Richard III, who in many ways showed himself to be an enlightened and forward-thinking King. With the opening words of Richard III, "Now is the winter of our discontent," Shakespeare lays the groundwork for the portrayal of Richard III as a man who is unhappy in a world that hates him. Later, he describes himself as "Deformed, unfinished, sent before his time into this breathing world, scarce half made up."
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.
Many led to the downfall of Dorian Gray; however, the main reasons are Lord Henry’s influence, the idea of Hedonism, and Dorian’s conscience. Lord Henry’s intentions to influence Dorian are evident in chapter 1 when Basil says, “Don’t try to influence him. Your influence would be bad.” Basil knows that Lord Henry’s influence is going to be primarily negative and knows that Dorian is going to become infatuated by him. This ignites Dorian’s flame for Lord Henry; he sees this as a challenge. Later in their friendship, we start to see that Lord Henry is merely stirring thoughts that Dorian already had inside of himself and was just afraid to let them be known.