King Lear By William Shakespeare

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In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare the characters in the play show many different symptoms and forms of madness. Madness is the state of being mentally ill, examples of madness are insanity, foolishness, idiocy and many more. Three characters in King Lear show symptoms of some madness; King Lear portrays true insanity, Edmund 's madness allows evil and manipulation, while the Fools form of madness is used to hide truths that need to be told. Insanity, the state of being seriously mentally ill; a form of madness. In the beginning, Lear displays perhaps one of his most lethal errors in the entire play. When Cordelia refuses to lie as her sisters did of her affection for him, he refuses to have her in his kingdom.“Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, loved me....Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all.” (I.I.94-104) Cordelia clearly explains that she will always be there for his father, and that she loves him as any true daughter should. Lear is so blind to Regan’s and Goneril’s false love, that Cordelia’s affection seems to pale in comparison. He then divides his land in two, and gives each half to one of his unfaithful daughters. It is already clear here, that he displays unclear and rash decision making before he goes mad. Firstly, King Lear portrays true insanity at the beginning of the play, his madness starts after his two daughters Goneril and Regan reject him and strip him of his powers “I stand your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.” (3.2.19-21) Lear 's transition into insanity drives him to self-reflect under harsh rainy thunderstorm which no sane person would do. Lear is trying to reach a greater being like God for help in the situation he faces. Lear 's insani... ... middle of paper ... ...before thy time.... thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.” (1.5.40-2) the Fool insisting that Lear is not following the order of nature and the balance of things by saying King Lear is not wise for his age. The Fool is considered a mad character because he is less like a fool and more like a living conscience. In Conclusion, there are many different forms and symptoms of madness shown through out the play. The three of the most important characters in the play each show their own different form of madness, Lear shows a form of Insanity through out the play, Edmund is evil and manipulative and would do what ever he has to achieve his goals, and last of all the Fool shows that he is more than just a fool who entertains the king, but he knows more than he seems and chooses to hid the truth in riddles and rhymes instead of saying it straight.

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