King Lear Character Analysis

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In “King Lear” the outer influences of different characters contribute to the downfall of Lear and Edmund. Shakespeare’s play “King Lear” marks the start of the imperfect life of King Lear which has no absolute certainty. The beginning of the play sets the tone for Lear’s spiraling downfall into madness, and his tragic demise. King Lear appears to be a very self loving man, who expects everyone else to love and respect him as well. In the first act King Lear commands his daughters to profess their love to him as payment for their part of the kingdom. The conflict starts when Lear’s youngest daughter Cordelia refuses to respond to the king’s request, due to the fact that she does not want to lie to her father. Lear comes across as a very egotistical man who has to have everything his way. Therefore, due to Cordelia’s response it would make sense for him to become so enraged that he would ruin her marriage with Burgundy.
Lear makes it very apparent that he wants all of Cordelias love and isn’t satisfied with Cordelia’s words which are not offensive, but hurtful to her father who desires all of her love. “You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I return those duties back as are right fit: obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sisters’ husbands if they say they love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, that lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry. Half my love with him, half my care and duty. Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, (to love my father all).” Knowing that Lear wishes for all of his daughters love, Cordelias response is not acceptable. In rage Lear disinherits Cordelia. Shakespeare makes it difficult to understand the reasoning for the need of his daughters to publicly show him their love. They are hi...

... middle of paper ... to pretend to love Goneril and Reagan, two sisters he knew would get jealous and go against each other, Edmund had a plan and he went through with it. Everything was going according, until Edgar found out about it when he discovered his father Gloucester without eyes. Edmund ends up being killed by Edgar.
When we look at both characters, we can tell each had conflict between other characters. Lear had problems with his daughters and Edmund with his father and brother. What got to the both of them was all of their outside influences that caused them to act the way they did. You can blame Lear for being so naïve, but all the blame goes to his daughters Goneril and Reagan. Edmund was mad because he was a bastard, something that is completely Gloucester’s fault. Even though the two very opposite characters had conflicts with family, they both died because of them.
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