Redemption In King Lear

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Like many of William Shakespeare’s plays, the inspiration for King Lear came from several different works and myths that existed during Shakespeare’s life. Though not a wholly original story, King Lear still remains one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies for its enduring themes involving speaking, mortality, and family. Shakespeare stresses these themes by mirroring the main plot surrounding Lear’s family with the sub-plot of Gloucester and his sons. The fall of characters in King Lear presents audiences with the frailty of monarchies due to rulers’ pride, while the message given after all the bloodshed provides some hope for redemption. Characters’ difficult relationships
Shakespeare’s King Lear dramatizes how reactions to words, the authenticity
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Lear would rather inflict his own misery on himself in the approaching storm “to ratify his own existence” (Lawrence) than be subjected to neglect from his daughters. The tempest Lear ventures into symbolizes the chaos in his head caused by his confusion and frustration over his daughters’ emotional torment. Likewise, Lear’s ever-present jester represents the sanity and reason Lear wants to maintain, as demonstrated by the fool trying to make Lear seek shelter. Lear’s breakdown in the storm humbles him because it shows his insignificance in comparison to nature. After retreating to a small hut, the effects of Lear’s experience in the storm begin to show in his interactions with Poor Tom and Gloucester. Knocked down to Poor Tom’s level as a ranting homeless man, Lear sees himself reflected in the young man, and so he becomes intent on raising him up in the world (Kearney). Accepting help from Gloucester shows how the storm made Lear lose his pride, so he willingly admits to needing support. Wandering in relentless nature made Lear see himself as merely an aging man with dementia who can be deceived into giving up everything he…show more content…
While Edgar and Cordelia embrace their exile from the start, Gloucester and Lear both initially let their loss of civility defeat them. However, reunions with their children give both of the men hope for their lives. During the respective reunions, Lear and Gloucester both suffer from blindness; Gloucester lost his eyes and Lear cannot recognize Cordelia because of his dementia. This blindness keeps the fathers from remembering the guilt they feel over what they inflicted upon their children in the civilized world, so they interact naturally with them. These interactions have both Lear and Gloucester “seeing beyond eyesight to [perceive] truly and [understand] correctly” (“King”), a recurring theme in King Lear. Despite the men eventually discovering Cordelia and Edgar’s identities, the natural relationships formed outside of the guilt of the past still flourish. Gloucester wanders outdoors with Edgar and Lear gladly goes to prison with Cordelia (Yang), illuminating that their revitalized relationships take precedence over wanting to return to society. Ironically, those still living in a structured society hide behind deceit to get what they want, while the characters who live without possessions or a home treat those around them with genuine affection. With nothing to gain or lose, the banished characters of King Lear seek genuine
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