"Only through the loss of our possessions and worldly connections can one truly realize one's inner being" (Confucius). The true nature of man is known but is not commonly seen until adversity strikes. Characters reveal their true nature when they are reduced to nothing. In the play, King Lear, by William Shakespeare, there are three main themes that characters can be reduced by; social status, love and power. Through these three mediums the true nature of the works characters are exposed, by stripping away the innuendo, deceit and superficiality that initially cloaks each character.
In the beginning of the play, Cordelia, Gloucester and King Lear all suffer a loss of power, which induces them to show their true nature. Cordelia is stripped of her rightful power and royal inheritance as King Lear's daughter when she pronounces her love for her father. In doing so, her pragmatic and practical character is uncovered. Cordelia protests her truthful and rational feelings towards her love for King Lear when she says, "Unhappy that I am. I cannot heave/ My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty/ According to my bond, no more nor less" (1.1.95-95). Her practicality and rational outlook become obvious when she speaks bluntly and truthfully to Lear. Likewise, Gloucester experiences a severe loss of power. When he is betrayed by Edmund to Regan and Cornwall to be helping Lear and his followers, he is punished with blindness and sent out into the storm alone. While wondering he meets a stranger named Tom who is really Edgar, his legitimate son in disguise: "(I am) A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows,/ Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows,/ Am pr...
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...n by being refused his servants and therefore loses a part of himself, leading him to be angered and eventually go mad. Finally, Gloucester's character experiences a diminishing social status when he is
In conclusion, in the play King Lear by William Shakespeare, there are three main themes that characters can be reduced by; social status, love and power . Through diminishing mediums such as these, the characters genuine natures become evident.
Works Cited and Consulted
Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968.
Schlegel, August Wilhelm. Criticism on Shakespeare s Tragedies . A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature. London: AMS Press, Inc., 1965.
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc. Toronto. 1990.
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