The Integrity of Humanity Explored in The Tragedy of King Lear

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In our world, there are people like the woman who yells at her children and disciplines them with physical punishment, but also the boy who talks to the student that always sits alone at the lunch table and is socially different than others. Some people may lead a life based upon universally established morals, while others tend to let out a side of their being that is more beastly than human. Humans have the ability to make choices based on reason, while the animals of the earth have only the capacity to choose the best option for their own survival. Human reasoning, both gracious and grave is witnessed in the words of William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of King Lear. Through both provocative and seemingly angelic characters, Shakespeare communicates to the audience that humans are born with the capacity to emerge from their simple selfish instincts based on survival and grow in both moral and social conduct. A pattern of references to ‘nothing’, to foolishness versus wisdom, and to animal imagery explore this message along with the characters exhibiting virtue or debauchery. Unaccomadation to most is the idea of the absence of physical possession, but throughout the play, its true meaning can be interpreted as the void of strong benevolence in character and a more savage personality. King Lear demonstrates his ignorance to what the concept of nothing is when twice he mentions that nothing will come of nothing in terms of a person’s wealth and status. Subsequently, Lear learns through testing situations that his growth of substance does not come from selfish indulgences like keeping the company of one hundred knights, but from the honour and faith that he manifests through his actions. Pertaining to substance, Lear desc... ... middle of paper ... to animals. Accordingly, all of humanity is called to look upon their own lives to determine whether or not animal instinctiveness has swayed the course of their existence. It is apparent that the promotion of enhancing the self appears in western society through the media presented. The challenge of living in this part of the world is to notice that fully accepting the lifestyle that appears appealing, but can be exceedingly empty, is just another way of giving in to the instincts of the scavenger within. As the scavenger hunts to sustain itself rather than collaborating, the world that could have looked much brighter has now crumbled to its base. The missing component in this formula for goodness is genuine human love for all of creation. Works Cited Shakespeare, William, and Kenneth Roy. King Lear. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Canada, 1990.

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