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EDU 2085- Essay on King Lear

Sep 4, 2023

The story is called King Lear No Fear by Shakespeare

Need a 5 paragraph essay

Essay on King Lear

King Lear is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare that was first performed in the court of King James VI in 1606. The play revolves around the King Lear of Britain, who is now under pressure to secure the future of his kingdom as he is growing old. Therefore, he decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters in the presence of everyone. This scene at the beginning of the play introduces King Lear’s tragic flaw, his hubris. It is his excessive pride that urged him to demand verbal praise and love from his daughters. His decision to judge the virtue of his daughters based on their speech instead of their actions shows his incompetency as king. This became the reason for the ultimate demise and downfall of his legacy.      

In the play, Shakespeare introduces several interrelated themes and highlights them by employing dramatic techniques. He uses references to blindness and justice to make the central themes more prominent. Both King Lear and Gloucester are blind to the truth which causes them to make wrong decisions. King Lear falls for the flattery of his two older daughters and disowns Cordelia for her honesty and humility. In this manner, he disrupts order and justice when he makes decisions based on flowery words rather than past observations of their actions. At the end of the play, King Lear turns blind after getting betrayed by both of his daughters. Ironically, he sees the truth after he has turned blind literally.

Similarly, Gloucester was also blind to the truth that Edmund orchestrated the plan to make Edgar look guilty in front of him. He convinces Edgar that Gloucester is angry with him, maybe because he said something controversial against Cornwall. When they both hear Gloucester approaching, Edmund pretends to be on the side of Edgar but suggests that they act as if they are fighting so that Gloucester will not get angry with him. In the middle of the fight, he asks Edgar to run away and assures him that he will call him back as soon as things get back to normal. However in reality, when Gloucester arrives, Edmund shows him a self-inflicted wound claiming to be attacked by Edgar. It is only when Edmund betrays Gloucester to Regan and Cornwall, that he realizes the truth. Ironically, he gains this insight after he is blinded by Regan as punishment.

Thus, another prominent theme in the play is loyalty and betrayal. Shakespeare creates dichotomy with his characters. Even from the start, Cordelia is contrasted with her sisters. She is not lustful toward power like them and has a forgiving and gentle nature. She respects her father and remains loyal to him even after he has disowned her from her share in the kingdom and dowry. Despite this, when she realizes how cruelly her father is being treated by her sisters, she joins the French army in their invasion to restore the kingdom to him. Aside from Cordelia, Kent stays faithful to King Lear till the very end. Even after he gets banished from the kingdom. He risks his life and disguises himself as a servant to stay close to King Lear. It can be seen how in the play, the characters of Edmund and Edgar are also contrasted with one another. Where the former betrays his father which causes his death. The latter one stays with Gloucester and tries to restore his sanity.

Thus, the nature in the play represents the inner turmoil of the characters. For instance, the raging storm in which King Lear goes out filled with rage after his argument with his two older daughters shows his emotional instability. This surge of strong destructive emotions muddles his memories and turns him mad. He is so burdened by guilt which makes it harder to face reality. In conclusion, the play presents a cautionary tragic tale that shows how reality can be very different from appearance. At the end of the play, every character is stripped of their facade. Edmund confesses his sins before his death to unburden himself from guilt. The fate of Goneril and Regan was a result of their lust for power and jealousy. King Lear and Gloucester face the consequences of their ill judgment. Thus, the play can be concluded from different lenses since it brings to the forefront many themes like loyalty, betrayal, hubris of humans, order, and disorder.

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