Stylistic Devices Used in King Lear

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Shakespeare’s stylistic devices convey not only a feeling of dejected despondency and suffocating anguish, but also tempestuous petulance and melancholic despair to illustrate the consequences of a lack of self-awareness and the painful process of enlightenment which follows. In addition, the breaking of the filial bond provides this necessary hardship for Lear which elicits both a feeling of pity for his state of affairs and retribution for the vanity which previously consumed him. However, these feelings eventually morph into a sense of resolution as Lear gains understanding of his past mistakes and displays an unwavering resolve as a result. Consequently, the stylistic devices in this climax serve to demonstrate both the hopelessness of Lear and the comfort which comes through a conformed conscious as the reader witnesses Lear’s complete metamorphosis.

The use of diction conveys a feeling of agony delineated through intense imagery as Lear sustains severe torment, demonstrating a resolute resolve in response. Furthering the spiritual battle of the “tempest,” the “[invasion]” of the “contentious storm” serves to illustrate Lear’s suffering and sorrow, which result from his daughters’ betrayal. In this way, the storm imagery amplifies Lear’s misery by depicting how the internal anguish outweighs the transitory discomfort in Lear’s mind as he realizes how his vanity led to his utter rejection and hopeless situation. Additionally, these realizations result in mixed feelings, as such a deep invasion of sorrow suggests both sympathy for Lear’s current tribulation and a sense retribution for his past futility and lack of self-awareness. In a like manner, the inner-battle with which Hamlet struggles evokes commiseration with the troub...

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...gative, as a mere effect. The end does not justify the means; the true value in life remains in the journey alone.

As a whole, the tragedy of Lear directly depicts the fallibility of man as it demonstrates the penalty for those who lack self-knowledge and conduct themselves in a corresponding manner. Eventually, the arrogance and sense of invincibility that go along with this vanity give way to the utter turmoil of the one whom they once consumed. However, this suffering proves a necessary adversity as one can only gain wisdom through hardship and despair. Not until this turmoil strips man of the wealth and power that previously blinded him can he fully perceive the dejection of un-accommodated man and empathize with him. Thus, the attainment of self-awareness should be man’s most crucial intellectual concern, as with it comes also the commiseration with common man.

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