Preview
Preview

King Lear's Self Discovery Essay

:: 6 Works Cited
Length: 2124 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

King Lear's Self Discovery


     Although King Lear is an estimable monarch, as revealed by the devotion of men such as Kent, he has serious character flaws.  His power as king has encouraged him to be proud and impulsive, and his oldest daughters Regan and Goneril reflect that "The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash..." and that "he hath ever but slenderly known himself" (1.1.297-298, 295-296).  When Lear decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan in order to have less responsibility in his old age, he creates a situation in which his eldest daughters gain authority over him and mistreat him.  Lear is unable to cope with his loss of power and descends into madness.  While the circumstances in which Lear finds himself are instrumental in the unfolding of this tragedy,  it is ultimately not the circumstances themselves, but King Lear's rash reactions to them that lead to his downfall.  In this downfall, Lear is forced to come to terms with himself as a mortal man.

 

Lear's self-destruction begins when he stands before the court to divide his kingdom and commands his daughters to profess their love for him.  Cordelia, his youngest and most favored daughter, idealistically believes that words are unnecessary in the expression of love and refuses to profess her feelings.  King Lear had planned to give the most land to Cordelia and to stay with her in his old age and he states of Cordelia, "I loved her most, and thought to set my rest/ On her kind nursery" (1.1.125-126).  The king does not understand the motives behind Cordelia's silence and is shocked by her unexpected reaction to his demand.  He loses sight of his careful preparation for his future and in his...


... middle of paper ...


...h.  This gesture is Lear's final relinquishment of the royalty he no longer values, as well as his decisive welcoming of mortality as it provides him with an escape from his grief.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Artaud, Antonin. The Theatre and Its Double. Grove Press Inc. New York. 1958

Billington, Michael. Gielgud: His Greatest Triumphs. "The Age." May 24, 2000.

Brook, Peter. The Empty Space. 1st Touchstone edition. Simon and Schuster Inc. 1996.

Noguchi, Isamu. Isamu Noguchi On the Dance. "Texts by Isamu Noguchi."

Partee, Dr. Morriss  Henry. Shakespeare Improved. University of Utah English Dept.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of King Lear. Jay L. Halio. Ed. The New Cambridge Shakespeare. Cambridge University Press. New York. 1992.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of King Lear.  Ed. Russell Fraser.  New York: Penguin, 1998.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about Self-Discovery in Shakespeare's King Lear - Self-Discovery in King Lear Halfway down Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade. Methinks he seems no bigger than his head: The fisherman that walk along the beach Appear like mice. Although this quote from Shakespeare's King Lear is made by Poor Tom to his unknowing father Gloucester about the terrain far below them, it accurately summarizes the plight of the mad king. Lear is out of touch with his surroundings, riding high upon the wave of power associated with the monarchy: even those closest to him are out of reach, viewed with a distorted lens....   [tags: King Lear essays] 1199 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Self Discovey in King Lear Essay - Throughout recorded history, humans have deemed themselves superior to all other living creatures. The Bible, arguably the most influential work of literature extant, demonstrates human superiority in the excerpt, "Let us make man in our image...let them rule over the flesh of the sea and the birds of the air, over all the earth." This notion of superiority was especially evident during the Renaissance, a period categorized by the rebirth of thinking and knowledge. The Renaissance, which lasted from about 1300 to 1600, brought advances in science that clashed with traditional viewpoints on life and the universe....   [tags: History, Renaissance, Galileo, Catholic Church] 1653 words
(4.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear Essay - King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Lear, takes the audience through his journey toward his enlightenment. At the beginning of the play Lear appears to be an arrogant man who is too much of the flesh. He associates money and power with love and respect. Thus, when Lear has given all this material possessions to his daughters, Goneril and Regan, he begins his long journey of self discovery. Through an analysis of two passages, one can see the transition of Lear from a man blinded by the flesh to a caring and compassionate madman that sees the truth....   [tags: King Lear Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1079 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Blindness and Sight - Lack of Vision in Oedipus the King Essay - Parental Blindness in King Lear As Shakespeare presents to us a tragic pattern of parental and filial love, in which a prosperous man is devested of power and finally recognises his "folly", empathy is induced in the audience. In "King Lear", it is noted from the beginning of the play that both Lear and Gloucester suffer from self-approbation and will consequently find revelation by enduring "the rack of this tough world". While Lear mistakenly entrusts the shallow professions of love from his "thankless" daughters - Goneril and Regan - instead of the selfless words of Cordelia, Gloucester shadows a similar ignorance by initially entrusting love in the evil Edmund, rather than Edgar, whom...   [tags: King Lear essays] 972 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Comparing The Tempest and King Lear - Comparing The Tempest and King Lear       This essay will focus on the similarities and differences of the plays The Tempest and King Lear in general, as well as looking at comparisons of Prospero and Lear in somewhat more detail. Prospero and Lear are, without a doubt, the two most compelling mature figures in Shakespeare. In a way, one is the flip side, so to speak, of the other. Each represents an aging man's relationship to family, environment, and, most importantly, himself. One might even be so bold as to venture that had Lear lived, he might, through the enormity of his painful transformation, have become a character much like Prospero, a man who has learned bitter lessons from his...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1334 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
King Lear vs. The Stone Angel Essay - It has been said that, “Rivers and mountains may change; human nature, never.”(worldofquotes.com) This is a quote that can be deconstructed when examining William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel. When reviewing the two books the main characters, King Lear and Hagar, are easily comparable. The first similarity becomes apparent when King Lear and Hagar are both developed as flawed characters. Secondly, because of their flaws the two characters become blind to reality....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 1 Works Cited
1844 words
(5.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Dramatic Scene Illustrated in Shakespeare's King Lear - Storm Scene Essay - Shakespeare’s King Lear offers its audience an impossible number of dramatic and memorable scenes, but I have chosen the storm scenes in Act III Scenes 1, 2 and 4 as my key dramatic scenes. The storm provides a dramatic centre to the play. It is used to bring about change, to represent Lear’s inner unrest, to symbolise the power of nature and to expose the play’s characters under the intolerant conditions of thunder and lightning. The scenes in which the storm takes place are very different to those which precede and follow them....   [tags: literary techniques, scene analysis] 887 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's use of the Renaissance Idea of Fatalism and Imagery in King Lear - Shakespeare's use of the Renaissance Idea of Fatalism and Imagery in King Lear In a play about individual tragedies, fatalism plays an important part. Shakespeare effectively uses cosmic imagery to define his characters and to explore the idea of journeys linked to self-discovery by relating it to the imagery of rotating circles. Shakespeare uses Renaissance theology to explain character motivation. In the 16th century there was a great belief in astronomy. People believed in the harmony of the spheres and they were ruled by this idea of thhe natural alignment of the nine planets in their orbits....   [tags: Papers] 3102 words
(8.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Self-Perception in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay -   Thou shall honour thy father and thy mother, is not only one of ten powerful commandments but is also the foundation for King Lear's perception of himself and his overwhelming situation in Shakespeare's masterpiece King Lear. After a recent life-altering decision, Lear's seemingly stable and comfortable world has been thrown into upheaval through the disobedience and lies told by not only his two daughters but also by his servants. Thus, after being dishonoured by his family and attendants, Lear forms an accurate perception of his situation, that he is "a man / More sinned against than sinning" (Act III scene ii lines 60 - 61)....   [tags: King Lear essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1034 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Facing the Consequences in King Lear - King Lear:  Facing the Consequences        Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is a detailed description of the consequences of one man's decisions.  This fictitious man is Lear, King of England, whose decisions greatly alter his life and the lives of those around him.  As Lear bears the status of King, he is, as one expects, a man of great power.  But, sinfully, he surrenders all of this power to two of his daughters, as a reward for their demonstration of love towards him.  This untimely abdication of his throne results in a chain reaction of events that sends him on a journey toward Hell, in order to expiate his sin....   [tags: King Lear essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
987 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]