Shakespeare overturns the social order in order to demonstrate the lack of justice in the world; traditional concepts of right and wrong and the consequences of each are shown to be wholly obsolete. This disruption of the natural order plays a key role in the characterization of an unresponsive heavens. Near the beginning of the play, Gloucester catalogues the disorder that has arisen, mentioning how “love cools, friendship falls off”, the “bond cracked ‘twixt son and father” and that there are “in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord” (Shakespeare I.ii.111-119). As Gloucester’s remarks signify the discord that has emerged after Cordelia’s disownment, his dismal diction works to evidence the breakdown of established order in the land—all while implying that without order, there cannot be any justice. According to Gloucester, Lear suffers because he has “fallen from what is natural” by banishing Cordelia (Hermesmann 2). Even from the first act of the play, Shakespeare reveals the darker aspect of Lear’s universe: traditions can be defied and ru...
... middle of paper ...
... that the breakdown of social order in the play is testament to the growing instability due to human actions. This article supports my claim that the overturning of the social order in King Lear plays a key role in establishing the absence of higher powers in the world.
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York, NY: Washington Square, 1993. Print.
Shakespeare’s play explores the tale of an old king who descends into madness after bequeathing his kingdom to two of his three daughters based on their flattery, resulting in tragedy for all. He illustrates the difficulty of obtaining justice and the importance of family relationships through the course of the play. The play is central to my argument; the very content of the work itself is essential to my claim that King Lear rejects the idea of any established, divine justice
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Justice in William Shakespeare's King Lear The question of the origin of true, virtuous, and impartial justice has plagued mankind over the millennia and continues to do so today. In Shakespeare’s King Lear two potential forms of justice predominate: human examination through trial and divine supernatural recourse. Both systems emerge fundamentally flawed in practice, however, and by the end of the play a world of unjust chaos reigns supreme. Over the course of three “trials,” Lear’s daughters competing for his love, the blinding of Gloucester by Cornwall and Regan, and Lear’s imagined cross-examination of Goneril and Regan, Shakespeare strikingly illustrates the concept that human justice... [tags: William Shakespeare King Lear Essays]
1040 words (3 pages)
- In the excerpt from King Lear by William Shakespeare, Lear states that there is a relationship between one’s wealth and justice; where the richer are given more leniency when it comes to justice, while those who are not as wealthy receive less grace from the law. Lear argues that the wealthy are virtually above the law when tried for a crime, while the poor are unfairly tried and even receive the harshest of punishments. Though there have been many cases of many celebrities and million-dollar bigwigs being found guilty and lawfully punished, there have been many other cases where they do not receive proper justice and have been acquitted of the most heinous of crimes.... [tags: crimes, wealthy, guilty]
613 words (1.8 pages)
- The Theme of Justice in King Lear Many themes are evident in King Lear, but perhaps one of the most prevalent relates to the theme of justice. Shakespeare has developed a tragedy that allows us to see man's decent into chaos. Although Lear is perceived as "a man more sinned against than sinning" (p.62), the treatment of the main characters encourages the reader to reflect on the presence or lack of justice in this world. The characters also vary in their inclination to view the world from either a fatalistic or moralistic point of view, depending on their beliefs about the presence or absence of a higher power. The theme of justice in relation to higher... [tags: King Lear essays]
1693 words (4.8 pages)
- Humans, like all creatures on the earth, have the privilege of the freedom of choice. There are two broad ranges of factors that affect the decisions a person makes. The first factor that affects decision making is internal and includes a person's character and intellect. The second factor is external such as environment and interaction with other people. Naturally, each decision a person makes results in a repercussion of some degree, usually either helpful or hindering, and rarely inconsequential.... [tags: Essays on King Lear]
2343 words (6.7 pages)
- Throughout King Lear by William Shakespeare, loyal characters, despite being mistreated and rejected, display authentic and ardent love to their madmen in order to restore justice, peace, and structure. Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, demonstrates genuine love to her insane and foolish father despite the fact she has banished and neglected for stating her honest feelings and intentions to her father. In Act 1, as King Lear is dividing up his grand kingdom, he gives the opportunity to his three daughters to profess their true love to him.... [tags: justice, peace, structure, love]
588 words (1.7 pages)
- King Lear's Folly In Shakespeare's King Lear, the actions of King Lear and of his daughters bring ruin and chaos to England. Social structures crumble, foreign invaders threaten the land, and, in a distinctly non-Hollywood ending, almost everyone dies tragically. The outlook is very bleak, as many of the problems are left unresolved at the end of the play: There is no one in line to assume sovereignty, and justice and virtue have not been restored to their proper places in the country's structure.... [tags: King Lear essays]
1201 words (3.4 pages)
- The Characters of Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear Nothing makes a story like a good villain, or in this case, good villainess. They are the people we love to hate and yearn to watch burn. Goneril, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, is no exception. Her evils flamed from the very beginning of the play with her lack of sincerity in professing her love for her father: "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour; As much as child e'er loved, or father found; A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.... [tags: King Lear essays]
943 words (2.7 pages)
- Lear's Character Development in Shakespeare's King Lear Though King Lear, of Shakespeare's play, King Lear, wrongs both Cordelia and Kent in his harsh treatment against them, the unjust actions of Regan and Goneril against King Lear cause him to be "a man more sinned against than sinning" (3.2.60-61). In order to relieve himself of the problems and work associated with holding his position so he can "unburdened crawl toward death," King Lear, of pre-Christ Britain, divides up his kingdom into three portions, one for each of his daughters (1.1.41).... [tags: King Lear Essays]
1205 words (3.4 pages)
- The Foolishness of Fools in Shakespeare's King Lear Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is comprised of many distinct themes. His contrasts of light and dark, good and evil, and his brilliant illustration of parallels between the foolishness of the play's characters and society allowed him to craft a masterpiece. Just as well, Shakespeare's dynamic use of linguistic techniques such as pun and irony aid this illustration of the perfect microcosm, not only of 16th century Britain, but of all times and places.... [tags: King Lear essays]
1697 words (4.8 pages)
- 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)