How Far Do You Agree That ‘the Play King Lear Presents Us with a Bleak and Cruel World and Offers Us No Comfort at the End?’

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How far do you agree that ‘The play King Lear presents us with a bleak and cruel world and offers us no comfort at the end?’ Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ falls under Aristotle’s definition of tragedy, with the fact that the characters are royal, and therefore have an enormous amount to lose. Moreover, the destructive downfall of not only King Lear but most of the characters in the play is due to the fatal flaw of pride in the king. The embellished language in the play is mainly in verse, and coupled with the unusual language forms of The Fool and Edgar as ‘Poor Tom’, this further links the play with the traditional definition of tragedy. ‘This fellow has banished two on’s daughters and did the third a blessing against his will.’ Untangling the meaning on The Fool’s words can be difficult, but it is clear he is the voice of reason and wisdom whispering in Lear’s ear throughout the play. Despite all this negativity, it would be a great over-simplification to assume that the overall play ‘presents us with a bleak and cruel world and offers no comfort at the end’, though this is an easy assumption to make given the obvious bleakness that infects the play throughout. Shakespeare does not dance around with back stories for the characters; rather he launches straight into Lear’s grand mistake in the first scene, and leaves the characters actions to imprint on the audience’s mind, introducing them. Lear’s flaws become evident immediately, even if the consequences of such flaws are not fully unveiled until later. Lear’s pride can be dismantled to have many layers; too proud to accept the truth in Cordelia’s words, seeking only mindless, false flattery; too proud to listen to Kent’s wise warnings, hearing only ignorant interruptions. ‘In thy best consideration check this hideous rashness.’ Lear does not only ignore the good advice his good friend Kent is giving him, he also
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