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Human Nature in 'King Lear'

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Mankind has made mistakes from the beginning, yet man has carried on. Our nature shaped from the beginning since the original sin mistakes became common place, misunderstandings, ignorance in general became parts of human nature. Shakespeare uses techniques—such as the tragic her, subplot, irony— to construct a world where human nature is flawed. A world created to stage the many aspects of human nature that have evolved and corroded over time, becoming more complex over time. Kings tumbling from power, fools breathing wisdom, bastards acquiring power. Lear's kingdom is the stage Shakespeare uses to orchestrate this point, human nature is flawed, this holds true through the use of a tragic hero.

Lear is the tragic hero, his flaw is vanity, his flaw runs true with mankind in general. In the first scene Lear's tragic mistake is the quintessence of this, this abomination of human nature. A father asking his children "which of you … doth love us most?" (I,i,50) This goes against the laws of nature family love is without condition, this point is realized in the answers of his daughters. Goneril and Regan both say their love is "more than word can wield matter." (I,i,53-54) However, Cordelia states "Nothing, my lord." (I,i,86) which ironically means everything, Shakespeare cleverly reveals this to the reader through an aside from Cordelia "I am sure my love's more ponderous than my tongue." (I,i,76-77) Though the reader feels Codelia's love Lear, blinded by vanity banishes his "sometime daughter" (I,i,118) failing to realize the meaning of "nothing." Lear's ignorance of his daughter's true love due to his vanity is a key flaw , captured by Shakespeare, in human nature. This flaw, is revealed through a tragic mistake incidentally, Sh...

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...ght is an atrocity of nature be it human or overall kings are meant to be wise and rule justly, yet Lear is foolish and vain—ironically—the exact opposite to a king. 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."
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