Portrayal of King Lear in First Four Scenes of King Lear by Shakespeare

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King Lear, by Shakespeare is a play written in the Elizabethan times. The tragedy of King Lear and his daughters was a familiar tale in England at the time.

In the first scene of act 1 we do not meet Lear from the very start of the play. King Lear enters after a conversation between Kent, Gloucester and his son Edmund. We immediately get the notion that Lear is attention loving and that he loves flattery. As the scene develops we also discover that he knows almost nothing about his daughters, as he couldn?t recognize their falseness. As long as his eldest daughters flattered him, he was happy. He doesn?t even recognize honesty, as he scolds Cordelia for being true when she told him ?I love your majesty according to my bond, no more nor less?. Lear shows poor judgment when he banishes his favorite daughter and leaves her without a dowry. His two other daughters, Goneril and Regan knew of their father?s weak point, and they worked it to their own advantage. This way, Lear was satisfied at hearing what he wanted and at being flattered by his own daughters. But he also puts upon his daughters the responsibility for his happiness, and thus he will blame them when he?s unhappy.

We see this in Scene 3 when Goneril is unhappy with her father. She shows her true self in this scene, not the loving daughter which she shows to be in Scene 1, but almost a villain, who goes against the hierarchy of nature. Daughters are supposed to respect and love their fathers, which is exactly the opposite o what Goneril is doing. She treats her father, who deserves more respect as he is also king, badly, and also advises her servant Oswald to do so. Lear still views himself as a king, while his daughter calls him an ?Idle old man?.

In Scene 4, Lear has enough of Goneril. As all kings do, he is used to making rules, not following them, so he expects to be obeyed. Lear feels helpless, he has no power left and he must rely fully on his two daughters. When Goneril takes away half of Lear?s knights, she also took away his dignity, and reduces him to tears, where he succumbs to despair.

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