Discuss How Shakespeare Presents Different Kinds of Madness in King Lear.

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Discuss how Shakespeare presents different kinds of madness in King Lear. Mitchell Wassink Madness is a common motif in Shakespeare’s King Lear, and makes itself known in various different ways throughout the play. Lear’s madness and the seeming madness of Edgar meld with the madness displayed by the evil acts of Edmund and the Fool’s controlled foolishness to create a rich, varied text. Shakespeare manipulates dramatic and literary elements to communicate the idea of madness effectively to his audience, and uses it to enhance and enrich the more important themes in the play. The books Aspects of King Lear by Kenneth Muir and Law and Love: The Trials of King Lear by Paul W. Kahn discuss Shakespeare’s implementation of madness in his work, as does Norman Maclean in his essay, The Madness of Lear, and Jessica Dunckel in hers, The Necessity of Reasonable Madness in King Lear. On reading or viewing King Lear, Shakespeare’s audience is presented with a wide range of different examples of madness. Such madness then progresses to help shape the play, and allow the full effect caused by greater themes to be appreciated. The portrayal of madness in all its varied forms in King Lear greatly contributes to the overall literary and dramatic meaning of what is arguably the Bard’s most complex work. The main representation of madness is within the character of the protagonist, King Lear. Through him, Shakespeare shows us true insanity and how it waxes and wanes due to outside influences such as love and rejection. At the commencement of the play, Shakespeare presents the seeds of madness through Lear’s vain demands for appreciation. Lear states that he was ready to express his “darker purpose” (I, i, ln36) when he begins to divide up his kingdom. From an outsider to the drama’s perspective, is obvious that the ‘darker purpose’ is related to Lear’s mad insecurities, which go
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