King Lear Essay

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King Lear is an epic Shakespearean drama illustrating acts of betrayal, injustice, compromised integrity, and persecution. Contrastingly enough, King Lear also speaks of true and everlasting love, fidelity, passion, and acts of extreme loyalty. It is in this that Shakespeare’s work is able to reach out to so many individuals and has held their interest throughout the centuries. Perhaps it is the example of Cordelia’s unmovable love for Lear, or the Fool’s devotion for his King that the optimists find so endearing. In contrast, it may be the cold hearted deception that targets an old man that appeals to the defeatist. Among these highs and lows of the drama, it can be stated that King Lear’s obsession with control and pride ultimately leads to the disassembling of his mental faculties. Only during King Lear’s “insanity” during the Mock Trial Scene, which is assumed through his dialogue, does he really begin to experience clarity of the mind by exerting reasoning skills. In Act two, King Lear was banished from both Goneril and Regan’s Kingdoms. Lear expressed earlier in the play that he wanted to keep one hundred knights for his personal use (1.1.126). But his daughters, Goneril and Regan make it clear that neither of them will let Lear stay in their kingdom as long as Lear has even one knight (2.4.285-287). Because of this, Lear’s last form of control is threatened, so he leaves the kingdom and enters a terrible storm – putting himself in harm’s way. In Act three Scene four, Lear, Kent, and the Fool run into Edgar, who is assuming the identity of Poor Tom. Shortly after, Gloucester discovers all of them and invites them all back to his castle. They all end up going into a Chamber in the farmhouse and this is the beginning of Act three Scene six, the “Trial Scene”. From the beginning of the Trial scene, the defining characteristics of King Lear as we

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