Blood gushing from stabbed eyes. Sipping poison slipped by one’s very own sister. Fathers turning against their sons. Such are the horrid outcomes of the characters in King Lear. Shakespeare has written one of the greatest tragedies of all time with this play and from the very start, has provided no cushion of happiness for his viewers. They are immediately thrust into a world of turmoil-Lear’s favorite daughter is banished by him, Gloucester is deceived by his younger son, Lear is sent into a storm by his ungrateful heirs…and the list goes on. Yet, what is it that causes these wretched consequences? Is it because there are many diabolical personalities in the play? Many mistakes made by fathers in disbelieving their trustworthy children? No. The answer is that society is ultimately responsible for the end results of the play. The world of King Lear demonstrates for the audience, by illustrating with its various characters and their doings that a society built around a social hierarchy and material wealth will always be a place of unhappiness, filled with people committing wicked actions.
Shakespeare scribbled King Lear away between the years 1603 and 1606. This was a tumultuous time because Queen Elizabeth I had died but had left no heir and no husband to seize her monarchy. Therefore, the citizens were worried and the competition for her regency was strong. In writing the play, Shakespeare broached this uneasy topic by creating the character King Lear, who is unsure of whom to pass down his power too. Thus, Shakespeare builds a setting with many of the current concerns and problems of his Elizabethan world (yet they are approached in a disguised manner). This time period in England was one where...
... middle of paper ...
...me blind while if the sisters had never stolen their father’s trust, he would never have gone crazy, Goneril would never have poisoned Regan and committed suicide and Cordelia would not have died. Thus, the tragic parts in the tragedy would not exist just as a world without the unhappiness would be happy.
“King Lear: Background on Shakespeare.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Signet Classic Edition Teacher’s Guide. Hern, Leigh Ann; Ellis, W. Gieger; Reed, Aretha J. S. (co-eds.), Penguin. Web
Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tragedy of King Lear. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. Print.
“The Stucture of Elizabethan Society.” Walter Nelson. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- We are lucky, today, that the majority of the world’s nations are democracies. This has only been the case in very recent times. For the greater part of human history, society has subscribed to the belief that birth is the most important determinant of one’s future. In Elizabethan England, this was especially true. Those born into the nobility enjoyed a lifetime of privilege, while those born outside of their ranks mainly existed to serve them. A century later, the British encountered an even stricter form of this belief when they conquered India.... [tags: Representations of Nature in King Lear]
856 words (2.4 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)
- The Tragic Truth of King Lear King Lear is another story of a soul in torment, a "purgatorial" story. Again the tragic writer has internalized a commonplace action, the facts of which were legendary and presumably known to Shakespeare's audience. Like the Poet of Job, who dramatized the tragic alternatives to the folk story, and like Marlowe, who saw the elements of tragic dilemma in the story of Faustus, Shakespeare transformed the tale of the mythical, pre-Christian King Lear ("who ruled over the Britons in the year of the world 3105, at what time Joas ruled in Judah") into a dramatic action whose shape and quality define Christian tragedy in its full development.... [tags: King Lear essays]
4336 words (12.4 pages)
- Edmund of King Lear as Nietzsche's Free Spirit In King Lear, Shakespeare creates a brilliant tragedy whose plot is driven primarily by its villains. Of these, Edmund stands alone as a man who makes his fortune, surrounded by those who seize fortune only when it is handed to them. Shakespeare's ability to create a vivid, living character in the space of a few lines of speech triumphs in Edmund, who embodies a totally different moral system than that of Shakespeare's era. Three centuries later, Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy of the Free Spirit would respect these values.... [tags: King Lear essays]
2789 words (8 pages)
- In most plays, first scene foreshadows and points out the key ideas and character interactions. Specifically, in the play King Lear, we can tell from the first act, contains powerful elements of foreshadowing that foretell the chaos and disasters that will unfold in the social and familial world of King Lear himself. In Shakespearean times, or Elizabethan times, it was expected for society to believe in the great chain of being and the love of their families. From begging scene of King Lear, we can see that this tragedy of Shakespeare starts off against the belief of Elizabethan times and foreshadows the rest of the play.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature]
910 words (2.6 pages)
- The Globe Theatre The Globe Theatre in London , where William Shakespeare's most famous plays premiered; Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Twelfth Night, was built in 1599 in Southwark on the south bank of London’s River Thames by Richard Burbage. It was co-owned by Shakespeare, with a share of 12.5%. The Globe was a large, open-aired, three-tiered theater made out of timber taken from the Theatre-– a former theatre owned by Richard Burbage’s father. The Globe Theatre burned to the ground on June 29, 1613, during a performance of Shakespeare’s last history play Henry VIII: Or, All is True, when a special effect, a cannon set light to the thatched roof and the fire quickly spread.... [tags: london, william shakespeare, hamlet]
1017 words (2.9 pages)
- Though the concept of kingship is rather unfamiliar and even alien to the contemporary democratic society, it was and still is a topic of great importance to English society. And during the Elizabethan era, no collection of renowned works helped to emphasize this notion more than Shakespeare’s plays – plays such as Macbeth, Hamlet, the Tudor history plays, and even King Lear. There are some who have argued that Shakespeare orchestrated these plays as a means of teaching his audience about political power; the responsibilities of a just ruler; the duties of the subject; and the qualities of a true king.... [tags: power, ruler, William Shakespeare]
1380 words (3.9 pages)
- King Lear and Illigetimacy Shakespeare’s treatment of illegitimacy in the play King Lear can be interpreted in many ways depending on the audience. The situation of illegitimacy is portrayed through the relationships of the characters the Earl Of Gloucester and his two sons Edgar and Edmund. Edmund is the illegitimate son while Edgar was born within the law. We learn of Edmund’s illegitimacy in the opening scene in the first act where The Earl of Gloucester is holding a conversation with Kent while Edmund is nearby.... [tags: essays papers]
889 words (2.5 pages)
- Alienation in King Lear and The Jew of Malta During one time or another, every individual has experienced Alienation. Whether it is with family members, in our society, in our religion, in our educational institution and even in politics: “The most common form of alienation is the physical and cultural kind experiencing "foreignness" or "culture shock." This is also the kind of alienation that is most easily understood; however, when one feels alienated in one's own home, society, religion, or culture, it is more difficult to rationalize or understand that feeling of not belonging.” Alienation has been defined as when someone does not feel that he or she be... [tags: Papers]
2050 words (5.9 pages)
- Comparing the Dominant and Feminist Readings of King Lear Shakespeare's King Lear has been the source of much contention as to the way in which the text can be read. The play originally was written for the Jacobean audience of Shakespeare's time, but since then has taken on many other readings. These new readings are produced to comment on issues in the society in which it is explored. Readings encompass a wide range of ideas - from the Dominant reading, the manner in which Shakespeare's audience would have perceived the text, to feminist ideals.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1365 words (3.9 pages)