Sinless King Lear ?

analytical Essay
1363 words
1363 words

When one contemplates the essence of being a king, one imagines that a king would never want for anything and that his later years would be carefree. In reading King Lear, one sees a seamier side of life for a particular king. Lear draws the audience’s attention to this in Act 3 when he cries out pitifully, “I am a man / More sinned against than sinning.” Although Lear undoubtedly made a huge mistake when he divided his kingdom and banished two people who were very dear to him. However, the sins his two ungrateful daughters committed against him far outweighed the wrongs he had done to others.

After dividing the kingdom, Lear gave everything to his two elder daughters, only retaining the right to keep his title and his entourage. He and his daughters agreed that Lear and his men would stay with each daughter for one month at a time. Goneril, after housing her father for a short time, became annoyed with her father’s impulsive temper and devised a plan for getting rid of him. She ordered Oswald and the other servants to give Lear and his loyal followers no service, thereby provoking them all and giving her the opportunity to play the role of martyr: “Put on what weary negligence you please, / You and your fellows. I’d have it come to question” (I.iii.13-14). Goneril’s actions demonstrate her impatience and her selfish, cunning and vengeful nature, as she wanted Lear to live the life of a tired old man, one who would stay out of her way. In Act 1, Scene 4, Goneril complains about Lear’s impulsive behavior and constant mood swings: “And put away / These dispositions which of late transport you / From what you rightly are” (I.iii.217-219).

Telling her father what he ought to do was considered to ...

... middle of paper ...

... and his pride and honor, but also of his sanity. Lear may not have been totally innocent of all wrongdoing, but the sins committed against him were far greater than any wrongs he had done.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Eric A., McCann, ed. Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, Canada Inc., Canada. 1998

Bradley, A.C. Lecture IX: Macbeth . Shakespearean Tragedies: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth . Macmllan & Co., 1904.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn: Studies of the Structure of Poetry. London: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947.

Curry, Walter. Shakespeare’s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968.

Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes, Slaves of Passion. Gloucester: Peter Smith Publisher Inc., 1973.

Knight, G. Wilson, 1949. The Wheel of Fire. Methuen & Co. Ltd.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that wisdom bids fear to a man who may have his ear abused.
  • Explains campbell, lily b. shakespeare's tragic heroes, slaves of passion.
  • Analyzes how goneril's actions demonstrate her impatience and her selfish, cunning and vengeful nature as she wanted lear to live the life of a tired old man.
  • Analyzes how the king's knights represented his status as king and criticizing them was an insult to lear’s pride and a prick to his ego.
  • Narrates how goneril stripped lear of his knights, and he turned away from his other daughter regan for shelter.
  • Analyzes how gloucester's act of patricide is the most horrendous thing that could ever happen. gloucester represented lear figuratively.
  • Opines that regan's plot to murder her father was enough to make up for the other sins that lear had committed.
  • Explains that shakespearean tragedies: lectures on hamlet, othello, king lear, macbeth and brooks' the well wrought urn.
Get Access