Theme Of Social Illusion In King Ler And Brave New World

1538 Words7 Pages
Social Illusion VS Natural Reality: King Lear and Brave New World In both the play King Lear by William Shakespeare and the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the authors contrast social illusion with natural reality to reveal humanity’s mistake in believing that civilization aids the savages.
In both King Lear and Brave New World, the authors share the idea of social illusion in conflict with the natural reality. This is evident in King Lear when Lear, Kent, the Fool and Edgar take shelter in a hovel and Lear starts to question the creation of humanity:
Is
man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! Here’s three on’s are sophisti-
cated!
…show more content…
(III.iv.107-113)
Lear begins to realize the fact that underneath the expensive clothes, there is a weak human being like any other. People in the society are judged and given a higher position based on how much luxury they have rather than for what they are. On the other side, regardless of how wealthy and powerful one is, one cannot escape from natural causes such as death. This reveals that even though there are boundaries between rich and poor people, they are all the same when it comes to issues like old, diseases and death. Hence, titles and clothes are the social illusions that separate humans in the name of the value and importance. Society also considers people with torn or poor clothes to be unimportant, while the ones with expensive clothes are considered valuable. The Fool calls Lear “fool” because the Fool clearly sees that Lear has lost his power. This is evident when the Fool points out that Lear has given away “All thy other titles thou hast given away; that/ thou wast born with” (I.iv.147-148). Lear no longer has the power and the title of a king since he has given his kingdom to his two daughters. Oswald, who is the chief servant in Goneril’s house, calls Lear “my lady’s father” rather than calling him a
…show more content…
Firstly, in King Lear, Shakespeare uses the idea of social illusion to develop ideas around civilization and torture. When Lear, Kent and the Fool find a hovel, Lear stands in the rain and starts praying for the “poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,/ That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm” (III.iv.35-36). Lear becomes more compassionate for the poor when he leaves his kingdom. In King Lear, there are two main settings; the kingdom and the heath. When Lear loses his place in civilization, he changes from an uncaring king to a caring person. Civilization is supposed to encourage righteous actions towards humans, while nature is supposed to encourage animalistic behaviour. Lear’s change proves that the Kingdom is a place of torture whereas nature is a space that allows for characters to grow into compassion and kindness, traits usually associated with civilization. This is evident when Lear’s daughters betray him and he says, “The little dogs and all/ Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me” (III.vi.63-64). Lear’s statement supports that his daughters are torturing him and not deferring to what he believes is his importance. However, Lear is not the only person who has made this realization. Edgar, who is Gloucester’s eldest son, also changes his view once he leaves
Open Document