Essay about Perceptions in Shakespeare's King Lear

Essay about Perceptions in Shakespeare's King Lear

Length: 1833 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

        In Shakespeare's King Lear, there are several sequences which display

the varying perceptions of different characters.  The perceptions of the

characters often differs because of what they are able to see and also in their

nature.  Such factors obstruct their vision, not allowing them to see clearly.

One sequence which may illustrate this is the banishing of Cordelia after she

refuses Lear's test of love.  Another sequence is the gouging of Gloucester's

eyes by Cornwall.  A third sequence which shows the indifference of opinion

within the characters is Lear's death at the end of the play.


        As the play opens up, Gloucester and Kent are speaking of Lear's

intention to divide his kingdom according to a test of love.  It is this test of

love which causes Lear to banish his most beloved daughter Cordelia.  When asked

how much she loves her father, Cordelia replies that she loves him according to

her bond, no more nor less .  This response angers Lear and causes him to ban

her for her refusal to comply.  Lear is held to the belief that she does not

love him.  He believes that the daughter which had loved him the most (and who

he loved the most) has broken his heart.  He is suspicious and bans her because

he thinks that she is the only daughter who doesn't love him.  It is Lear's

rashness which prevents him from seeing that she is speaking the truth.  It is

the same rashness which leads him to believe that Goneril and Regan are being

truthful.  Kent believes that Lear is wrong and openly tells him so.  He says in

a s...

... middle of paper ...

...onverged.  His personal suffering

allow him to make an unbiased and calm statement after the death of Lear.  He

has endured so much and can speak from his own experience.


        Several events in King Lear are seen differently by various characters.

Their own intentions and beliefs cause them to make decisions which, if wrong,

are corrected through the play's progression.  The nature of the characters

along with their personal desire cause them to be biased and sometimes

predictable in their actions.  Often times, it is the obstruction created by

other characters which prevents them from seeing clearly.  Eventually, in the

climactic play's end, all wrong is corrected, unfortunately at the cost of

several lives of many innocent people, making King Lear a true tragedy.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

King Lear by William Shakespeare Essay example

- Parallels The theme of a person's perceptions versus how the world actually is, is a common theme in literature across the ages. Shakespeare was particularly fond of playing with his audience and making them question if all his characters see is an illusion. In Shakespearean plays two types of illusion are manifest: the active deception of one character by others; and the inherent flaws in the perception of the viewer. The audience in King Lear bears witness to how characters can fail to perceive the world as it exists and instead only see an illusion; this idea is demonstrated in three different ways....   [tags: gloucester, edmund]

Powerful Essays
969 words (2.8 pages)

Love, Friendship, Loyalty in William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear

- In William Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) attempt to explore themes of love, friendship and loyalty in his plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1600) and King Lear (1603-1606), there is distinct and constant portrayal of these themes classified of inconsistencies. It is crucial to understand that the historical context of Shakespeare’s writing is important in grasping a true understanding of the inconsistencies that exists in love, friendship and loyalty. Writing during the time of the renaissance, Shakespeare’s critical writing of such themes is of great importance in understanding the new socio-political framework of the early modern English times....   [tags: paternal, patriarchs, relations]

Powerful Essays
2672 words (7.6 pages)

Essay about King Lear

- King Lear Every situation in life has an appearance, and a reality. The appearance of a situation is usually what we want to see. The reality, what is really going on, is not always as obvious to the observer. People who cannot penetrate through the superficial appearance of a situation will see only what they want to believe is true; often, the reality of a situation is unappealing to the perceiver. These are the circumstances surrounding the conflict that occurs in William Shakespeare's King Lear....   [tags: essays papers]

Powerful Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Robes and Furred Gowns Hide All: A Study of Social Illusions in King Lear and Brave New World

- ... And as a result of his birth, Edmund is excluded of the inheritance granted to children of noble birth. Being born within Gloucester’s marital bond makes Edgar a legitimate child, who consistently overshadows his bastard brother Edmund. And since Edgar is Gloucester’s only ‘proper’ son, he receives all the privileges of his father. Although Edmund is in no way physically or mentally lesser than Edgar, stating that “[his] dimensions are as well compact,/[His] mind as generous, and [his] shape as true”(1....   [tags: perspective, reality, ideals, society]

Powerful Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Self-Perception in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

-   Thou shall honour thy father and thy mother, is not only one of ten powerful commandments but is also the foundation for King Lear's perception of himself and his overwhelming situation in Shakespeare's masterpiece King Lear. After a recent life-altering decision, Lear's seemingly stable and comfortable world has been thrown into upheaval through the disobedience and lies told by not only his two daughters but also by his servants. Thus, after being dishonoured by his family and attendants, Lear forms an accurate perception of his situation, that he is "a man / More sinned against than sinning" (Act III scene ii lines 60 - 61)....   [tags: King Lear essays]

Powerful Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Essay on Folly in William Shakespeare's King Lear

- Folly in William Shakespeare's King Lear       In "East Coker," T. S. Eliot pleads "Do not let me hear / Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly…." (Eliot 185) The folly of old men must surely be a central trope in any discussion of Shakespeare's imposing tragic accomplishment, King Lear. Traditional interpretations of the play, drawing on the classical Aristotelian theory of tragedy, have tended to view Lear's act of blind folly as hamartia, precipitating the disintegration of human society....   [tags: William Shakespeare The Tragedy of King Lear]

Powerful Essays
2870 words (8.2 pages)

William Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- William Shakespeare's King Lear "A man more sinned against than sinning" King Lear is one of Shakespeare's more complex plays and within it many different themes are addressed and explored. King Lear is the somewhat unfortunate vehicle that Shakespeare uses to explore many of these themes creating a complex character including the roles of a father, king, friend and adversary....   [tags: William Shakespeare King Lear]

Powerful Essays
1855 words (5.3 pages)

The Selfish King in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- The Selfish King in Shakespeare's King Lear In Shakespeare's King Lear a king is stripped of his land, wealth, soldiers, and all of his power because he is stubborn, egocentric, and unkind. Other than losing money and power he loses his three daughters as well. Lear?s pride is so overwhelming that he is unwilling to allow anyone to contradict him. If anyone (besides his fool) even remotely hints that his actions were wrong he gets unnecessarily enraged....   [tags: King Lear William Shakespeare Tragedies]

Powerful Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)

Lessons in King Lear by William Shakespeare Essay

- Lessons in King Lear by William Shakespeare Satisfying, hopeful, and redemptive: some critics would say that these adjectives belong nowhere near a description of King Lear. One critic, Thomas Roche, even states that the play’s ending is “as bleak and unrewarding as man can reach outside the gates of hell” (164). Certainly, Roche’s pessimistic interpretation has merit; after all, Lear has seen nearly everyone he once cared for die before dying himself. Although this aspect of the play is true, agreeing with this negative view requires a person to believe that Lear learns nothing and that he suffers and dies in vain....   [tags: King Lear Shakespeare Essays]

Powerful Essays
3490 words (10 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare's King Lear

- William Shakespeare's King Lear The locations in Shakespeare’s King Lear fall into three categories: inside a court, out in nature, and in-between nature and civilization. Lear himself also wavers between three states: sanity, senility, and the fine line between the two. These states of consciousness relate directly to the scenes’ locations. However, Lear’s insanity is not the fault of his location in the world; for the most part, he has control over his situation. The series of events in correspondence with the location show that man must acknowledge the nature he originated from and live in the civilized world, but not abandon nature all together because too much control or chaos leads t...   [tags: Shakespeare Play King Lear Essays]

Powerful Essays
1567 words (4.5 pages)