Throughout William Shakespeare’s works, one can see what true evil is such as Macbeth and Richard III. Shakespeare portrayed evil in his works to make the world aware that evil exists everywhere you look. For instance in Macbeth, Macbeth killed MacDuff and blamed it on his servants, and in King Lear Goneril kills her sister, Regan. As the story of King Lear unfolds, a tale of evil and villainy is shown to the audience. Many characters can be separated respectively in groups of good and evil, evil outweighing the good. The lust for power is the backbone of the story and is the ultimate reason for the downfall of the characters involved. Evil characters are domineering at the beginning of the play, and soon the good begin to be on top. Goneril’s evil sparked in the very beginning of the play and ignited a flame that would continue to burn and eventually grow as the play progresses.
In Scene 1, she falsely professes her love for her father in return for part of his kingdom. ‘‘Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare’’ (1.1.53-55). The reader is able to see through the exaggeration of her words from her first line, knowing the things she said were not true. Goneril’s want for power and authority is apparent from the first scene, and foreshadows the setting for the rest of the play knowing more evil is lurking just around the corner. “She attempts to forge her own reality that transcends circumstance and fate” (Cohen 7). She believes if she has power that she can make her life the way she wants it and be happy. It is through Goneril’s love of power that leads to her ultimate downfall.
At the beginning, Shakespeare shows “Goneril’...
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...McFarland 3). There was not a happy ending to King Lear and I believe Shakespeare used this to show people that evil does exist in the world. He also shows that when the allocation of power arises, people will go to above and beyond to get what they want. Goneril’s lust for power was satisfied from scene one, but the lust she had for Edmund never was satisfied—even until her death. “Goneril and Regan are vicious and unfaithful to each other” and Goneril is the one who turns on her sister and the alliance they both had in scene one was destroyed (Cohen 5). Through reading King Lear the audience is able to see how Goneril was willing to give up her kingdom for the desires of a man that was not faithful to her. Shakespeare shows the reader that eventually, evil will turn upon evil.
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