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Royal Foolishness in King Lear Essay

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The presentation of persistent incompetence of the elite class would seem unlikely in a Shakespearean tragedy. Yes, it in turn led to the expected downfall of almost all principle characters, but there seems to be another element of the play of King Lear – shameful ridicule. The repetition of dishonesty, superficiality, and blatant ignorance serves as an overwhelming theme of the dysfunction of nobility. Indeed, one of the main aspects of King Lear is the representation of royalty’s foolishness.

A clear example of the naiveness of the nobility is Regan’s hunger for power and wealth at an extent where she demonstrates little respect towards her own father – also her beneficiary. She insults his age and rudely implies that he no longer deserves the status of king and should pass it on to someone more capable. Ironically, she has the least potential for being an adequate ruler, “O sir, you are old… You should be ruled and led by some discretion that discerns your state better than yourself” (II.iv.165-169). Her shameless remark touches upon Lear’s own flaws, his d...


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