Psychoanalytic Criticism Of King Lear

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Psychoanalytic Theory on King Lear
The Psychoanalytic theory came about in the 19th century by a man named Sigmund Freud with the help of Dr. Joseph Breuer this theory is based upon human behaviors and personality. The human personality is broken down into three elements, the id, the superego, and the ego. The id element is the internal and basic needs such as hunger, thirst and even sex. It ignores pain but seeks pleasure. The superego is the approach to act in a sociably acceptable way. It is the learned behavior by living in society and instruction from parents. The ego is the balance between the id and superego element. It helps both elements by understanding how to act acceptably. The Psychoanalytic theory is applied to one of Shakespeare’s plays, King Lear, by understanding the needs of the Lear’s love from his daughters and the actions that follow.
Throughout the play King Lear’s tone is harsh and angry due to his madness for his daughters who betrayed him. After Lear foolishly divides his kingdom to his daughters, based upon their love for him, his pride and self-esteem comes to a low standard. Throughout the play Lear seems to not know himself very well as much as others. He feels betrayed because his daughters who claimed they “loved” him the most went against his orders. It is like as if Lear views himself weak and not powerful anymore. In Act I, Lear commands his daughters to promote their love for him but in respect for her father Cordelia refuses to. Since Cordelia did not obey his orders Lear throws her out. He becomes furious because to him he feels as if his daughter has no love for him. In this Act Cordelia explains to her father that yes she does love him as a father but most of her love must go to her husband b...

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...hat they have greater power and a greater ego then Lear does.
There are several symbols throughout the play. The storm in the middle of the play symbolizes the chaos that is going on threw Lear’s mind. It also symbolizes his anger and madness towards his daughters, which is why the storm is so severe. It is an internal confusion of Lear’s mind. It is like as if he cannot believe that his daughters would be so cruel to him. Another symbol throughout the play is the blindness of Glouster. The blindness of Glouster symbolizes that him and Lear both have loyal children and disloyal children. Since Glouster has lost the sight of seeing and Lear has gone madly insane makes both father realizes the mistake that they made for letting their children become powerful. Both fathers realizes this at the end of the play when they happen to be in the same area as one another.
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