The ultimate irony in the play was "nothing" nothing meant everything when Cordelia spoke of it, yet Lear scorned that nothing. Shakespeare's use of a constructed world warns the reader about the ignorance, and the "stumbling", and the foolishness of mankind. These warnings are outlined through a tragic hero, reinforced in a subplot, and are coated with irony. This constructed world is unheard of; kings acting foolish, wise fools, the meaning of "nothing", a bastard gaining nobility, children plotting against their parents. Shakespeare's world sums up the darker complexes that have become parts of human nature, to warn the reader that things are not what they seem, that there is "reason in madness."
After Goneril complains about how Lear lets his knights be so disrespectful, Lear asks rhetorically, “Your name, fair gentlewoman?” Act1 Sc4 Line 243. Instead of directly addressing Goneril’s complaint, Lear mocks it and pretends like he doesn 't know who Goneril is. This is an incredibly childish thing to do coming from a King. Lastly, Lear, driven by entitlement, shows his egotistical nature. When Regan advises Lear to go to Goneril and ask for forgiveness, Lear completely denounces the idea.
Although King Lear and Gloucester both possess elements of a tragic hero, Gloucester's punishment simply parallels, on a lower scale, Lear's deterioration into madness. Shakespeare chooses to increase the emotive impact of Lear's suffering by invoking the suffering of Gloucester. Both Lear and Gloucester make errors in judgement in believing themselves unloved by the children who essentially love them the most. After stepping down from the throne, Lear, the great king of Britain, wishes to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. This leaves Lear in an impossible position of wanting to give up his kinship and still wanting the privilege and power.
Firstly, his egotism causes untold damage at the beginning of the play. This is evident to the audience when instead of simply dividing his land evenly amongst his three daughters, he asks for the three of them to profess their love to him first. Cordelia’s surprising reply of “Nothing” enrages Lear. His reaction seems completely irrational and by banishing Corderlia, Lear loses his only daughter who truly loves him. Coinciding with this was another imprudent decision to banish Kent, who only seeks to serve his King as best he can.
King Lear is the conceited character, he thinks of himself as invincible. Lear thinks of his youngest daughter Cordelia as a traitor when she would not flatter him. Why would a man so powerful be offended by his daughters refusal to praise him? This is Shakespeare’s first step into Lear’s downward spiral. In this moment Lear went from all-powerful King to just ‘Dad’, Cordelia’s innocent nature struck his autocratic ego.
Another commonality between the Fool and Cordelia is their honesty. Both the Fool and Cordelia are frank with Lear, though he may not always appreciate that they do so for his own good. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, the Fool is a source of chaos and disruption in King Lear’s tumultuous life. The Fool causes the King distress by insulting him, making light of his problems, and telling him the truth. On the road to Regan’s, the Fool says “If thou wert my Fool, nuncle, I’d have thee / beaten for being old before thy time.” (1.5.40-41).
Joseph Marcell as Lear conspires to divide his kingdom without any second thought of another way to pass down his empire. For Marcell, he must divvy his kingdom, for he is too old to control and make decisions. In addition, after Lear questions the love of his daughters, it seems as if Goneril and Regan have been preparing for that specific moment to make a grand profession of love. Just like at the end of the written play, the performance has Joseph Marcell regretfully holding Cordelia in his arms, while he half screams and half cries. Here, he realizes that he was doomed all along and it was his old age that brought him to the position that he is in.
It also illustrates the bastard's mistaken belief that by fooling his father, he might be able to eliminate Edgar, the competition for Gloucester's title, and possibly rid himself of his father in the same act. This is a prime example of immoral foolishness in King Lear. Another type of fool in King Lear is the ignorant fool. Whereas characters such as Goneril, Regan, and Edmund are fools because of their tendency to harm others for self- gain, the ignorant foolish are not necessarily driven to evil. However, the evil are almost always driven to foolish actions.
"Lear […] O, heavens,/If you do love old men, if your sweet sway/show obedience, if you yourselves are old,/Make it your cause. Send down, and take my part" (Shmoop 2008). After King Lear 's daughters, Goneril and Regan, double-cross him, King Lear sees things are not going the way it is planned since his daughters have different intentions. William Shakespeare 's play, King Lear is a archetypal play of a person impropriety and punishment. The public is tested by the conflict of the righteousness of a person and a person 's sinfulness.
In the tragedy “King Lear”, Shakespeare incorporates the superfluous usage of emotion as a general indication of irrationality and naiveness, whereas the usage of reason signals maturity, intelligence, and reality. Tired of the endless duties accompanied with the title of King, Lear planned to divide his empire into three sections, one section for each daughter. Dominated by a need for sentimental flattery, Lear simple-mindedly decides to give his largest realms to the daughter whose proclamation of love is the most embellished and honeyed. From the merging of emotion and reason, Shakespeare is able to center his play on the torments accompanied by the appearances betrayal, madness, and chaos. Though goodness is interwoven within the play, evil and the flaws of human nature are also included.