King Lear—A Man More Sinned Against Than Sinning?
A King is supposed to have all that he needs without having to worry about anything in his late years. Yet King Lear, in Act 3, Scene 2, cried out in pitifully: “I am a man / More sinned against than sinning.'; Although Lear has made a huge mistake in the first scene of the play in dividing up his kingdom and banishing his two dearest people, the sins his two other ungrateful daughters have done him is far greater than the extent of Lear’s wrongs.
After dividing the kingdom, Lear gave everything to his two daughters on the condition that he would keep his title as King, keep his entourage and that he would stay with each daughter for a certain amount of time. Goneril, annoyed with her father’s impulsive temper, refuses to put up with him and orders Oswald and all other servants to provoke Lear so she would have a chance to rid of him:
“Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows. I’d have it come to question.'; (I, iii, 13-14)
Goneril’s act demonstrates her impatience and her revengeful nature as she wanted Lear to suffer from whatever she had to put up with him before. In Act 1, Scene 4, Goneril complains about Lear’s impulsive behaviour and constant moodswing:
“…and put away
These dispositions which of late transport you
From what you rightly are.'; (I, iii, 217-219)
Telling her father what he ought to do is thought of as disgracing her father during those times. A child is supposed to demonstrate strict obedience towards his parents. In addition, Goneril criticizes her father’s entourage vehemently :
“…this your all-licensed fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be endured riots.'; (I, iv, 197-200)
The King’s knights represented his status as king and criticizing them is an insult to Lear’s ego. On top of the criticism, Goneril also asks that Lear reduces his number of knights:
... middle of paper ...
...bsp; Into her womb convey sterility;
Dry up in her organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her!'; ( I, iv, 273-278)
However, Regan’s plot to murder her father was enough to make up for the other sins that Lear has committed.
Lear is an old retired king who certainly doesn’t deserve to treated in the manner his two ungrateful daughters have done so. Lear might have lacked personal insight in banishing his two most beloved people around him, and lacked self-control and discipline in controlling his temper, but there could be no reason to justify the immoral actions that Goneril and Regan had casted upon them. They dejected, abandonned, hurted and even wanted to kill their own father. To Lear, maybe the thing that hurts him the most is the fact that his two evil daughters are his own flesh and blood. Not only has he been stripped of love, pride and honour, he has also been driven crazy by them. Lear might not have been sinless, yet the faults casted upon him is far greater than what he had wronged.
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