The Universal Truths of King Lear Essay examples

The Universal Truths of King Lear Essay examples

Length: 1345 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Universal Truths of King Lear


    Edgar:  O, matter and impertinency mixed, Reason in madness!  (4.6.192-93)

 

        Reason in madness, truth in suffering, and sight in blindness all

contain the same basic meaning.  In order to find and recognize our real

selves and the truth, we must suffer. These various themes are continually

illustrated throughout Shakespeare's King Lear. Their effects are not

solely felt by Lear and Gloucester.  All sincerely "good" characters in the

play must, in some way, suffer before they can gain wisdom and truth.  Some

characters are made to suffer more, some less.  The truths and wisdom

gained are what give the drama its substance.  These truths are universal.

The "good" characters represent everyone with their as they gain knowledge

from suffering.

 

      Lear, is the character most obviously made to suffer.  In the

beginning of the drama, Lear is unable to see the good in his daughter

Cordelia.  He is so egotistical that when Cordelia explains her love for

him is that of a daughter for her father, he becomes enraged.  He desires

to hear she loves him more than she could love anyone, ever.

 

        Cordelia: Good my lord,

      You have begot me, bred me, loved me.

      I return those duties back as are right fit:

      Obey you, love you, and most honor you........

        That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry

      Half my love with him, half my care and duty.

      Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,

      To love my father all. (1.1.105-15)

 

Cordelia's plight is only one of the many truths Lear is unable to see.

Since he is king, h...


... middle of paper ...


...so must the

characters go through some type of suffering to appreciate the goodness,

truth, and wisdom.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A.C. "King Lear." 20Lh Century Interpretations of King Lear. Ed. Jane Adelman. New Jersev; Prentice-Hall, 1978.

Colie, Rosalie. Some Faces of King Lear. Ed. R. Colie & F.T. Flahiff. UniversitV of Toronto Press, 1994.

Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter   Smith, 1968.  

Hunter, Robert G. Criticism on Shakespeare s Tragedies.. University of Georgia Press, 1996.

Matthews, Richard. "Edmund's Redemption in King Lear". Shakespeare Quarterly. Winter, 19q5. pps. 25-29.

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc. Toronto. 1990.

Snyder, Susan. "King Lear and the Prodigal Son." Shakespeare Quarterly. Autumn 1966. pps. 361-369.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Earth Centered Theme of Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- The Earth Centered Theme of Shakespeare's King Lear King Lear is a complicated, apocalyptic play with parallel plots, moral ambiguity, and a messy ending. The play's events were politically charged and historically informed when they were performed in seventeenth century England, as they continue to be to today. Whatever his intentions, Shakespeare has given us several universal truths to consider. One I like to consider is how beneath all the sinister and bold machinations of man lies the gentle earth, from which we, and all life, spring....   [tags: King Lear Essays]

Strong Essays
3114 words (8.9 pages)

Human Suffering in Inferno and King Lear Essay

- Both Shakespeare’s King Lear and Dante’s Inferno explore the reasons for, and results of, human suffering. Each work postulates that human suffering comes as a result of choices that are made: A statement that is not only applicable to the characters in each of the works, but also to the readers. The Inferno and King Lear speak universal truths about the human condition: that suffering is inevitable and unavoidable. While both King Lear and the Inferno concentrate on admonitions and lamentations of human suffering, one of the key differences between the works is that Inferno conveys an aspect of hope that is not nearly as prevalent in King Lear....   [tags: Shakespeare, Dante, Literary Analysis]

Strong Essays
1552 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare's King Lear

- William Shakespeare's King Lear King Lear is universal - the tragedy is in a distantly remote and deliberately undefined historical period and location. Has resulted in its survival. The emptiness of the stage at the Globe Theatre allowed Shakespeare to both set his plays in any location and to put them in no particular setting, allowing him to draw the attention of the audience to the essentials of the play....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1393 words (4 pages)

Essay about Universal Truth in Shakespeare's King Lear

- Universal Truth in King Lear The warm, comforting sun has broken through the clouds, melting the ice that chokes the ground and bathing the world in its healing light. Likewise, King Lear has finally rid himself of his emotional shrouds and melted the ice that covers his heart. In Act 5, scene 3 lines 9-20, Lear explains how he and Cordelia will spend their time while imprisoned by Edmund - not burning with vitriolic hatred, but enveloped in an almost joyous sense of calm. He and his daughter will "sing like birds i' the cage" (5.3.10)....   [tags: King Lear essays]

Strong Essays
576 words (1.6 pages)

Stampfer and The Catharsis of King Lear Essay

- Stampfer and The Catharsis of King Lear   At the end of King Lear, when the only characters left standing are Albany, Edgar, and Kent, is the audience supposed to come away from the play with any feeling other than remorse. This search for emotional release by the audience is one which J. Stampfer believes is the most profound problem in King Lear. The overriding critical problem in King Lear is that of its ending. The deaths of Lear and Cordelia confront us like a raw, fresh wound where our every instinct calls for healing and reconciliation....   [tags: King Lear essays]

Strong Essays
1171 words (3.3 pages)

The Existential Progression of King Lear Essay

- The Existential Progression of King Lear The human condition is the scrutiny of art, Prince Hamlet notes the purpose of art is to hold the mirror against nature. King Lear is a masterful inquiry into the human condition. King Lear is confronted with existence in its barest sense and is forced to adapt to that existence. His adaptation to the absurd provides an invaluable insight for all into the universal problem of existence. Lear is forced into an existential progression that will be traced with the phenomenon of consciousness; the result of this progression is seen ironically in that Lear finds satisfaction in despair....   [tags: King Lear Essays]

Strong Essays
3669 words (10.5 pages)

Insanity and the Necessity of Madness in King Lear Essay

- The Necessity of Madness in King Lear At the beginning of “King Lear,” an authoritative and willful protagonist dominates his court, making a fateful decision by rewarding his two treacherous daughters and banishing his faithful one in an effort to preserve his own pride. However, it becomes evident during the course of the tragedy that this protagonist, Lear, uses his power only as a means of projecting a persona, which he hides behind as he struggles to maintain confidence in himself. This poses a problem, since the audience is prevented from feeling sympathy for the king....   [tags: King Lear Essays]

Strong Essays
1871 words (5.3 pages)

The Power of Language in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- The Power of Language in King Lear       It is often difficult to gain entry into a work of such complete and dazzling genius as King Lear--reading Shakespeare can sometimes feel like trying to get a good long look at the sun on a cloudless day. And yet there are moments when one comes across passages that, by the sheer force of their lyrical, poetic beauty, leap off the page and resonate so strongly within one's mind that they become a kind of distillation of the entire play. One can read this play again and again, and still be struck anew by Shakespeare's utter mastery over language; surely there is no other writer who had so full a sense of, and who used to such merciless ends, the pow...   [tags: King Lear essays]

Strong Essays
1901 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on An Analysis of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear

- An Analysis of Nature in King Lear The concept of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear 1[1] is not simply one of many themes to be uncovered and analyzed, but rather it can be considered to be the foundation of the whole play. From Kingship through to personal human relations, from representations of the physical world to notions of the heavenly realm, from the portrayal of human nature to the use of animal imagery; Nature permeates every line of King Lear. However as I intend to argue, Nature in all of these contexts is a social construct, which is utilized in order to legitimize the existing social order.  In order to do this it is first necessary to draw a very brief sketch of the politi...   [tags: King Lear Essays]

Strong Essays
2956 words (8.4 pages)

Essay on King Lear

- King Lear King Lear of Britain has decided to abdicate his throne. In order to bestow his kingdom between his three daughters; Goneril, Regan and Cordelia he calls them together. His intentions are to split the kingdom between them based on each’s expression of love for him. The two older daughters sweetly talk their way in their father’s heart for sizable kingdoms. Cordelia however, the youngest and Lear’s favorite, sees the sinister motivations of her sisters and tells her father of her deep true feelings....   [tags: King Lear]

Free Essays
396 words (1.1 pages)