King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear Essay

King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear Essay

Length: 1079 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear


In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Lear, takes the audience through his journey toward his enlightenment. At the beginning of the play Lear appears to be an arrogant man who is too much of the flesh. He associates money and power with love and respect. Thus, when Lear has given all this material possessions to his daughters, Goneril and Regan, he begins his long journey of self discovery. Through an analysis of two passages, one can see the transition of Lear from a man blinded by the flesh to a caring and compassionate madman that sees the truth.

The first passage comes from act I, scene iv. Lear's arrogance is illustrated in this passage as he commands nature to make Goneril infertile ; "Dry up in her organs of increase, / And from her derogate body never spring / A babe to honour her!..." (I.iv.245-258). As Lear speaks angrily to an external subject, nature, he is really speaking angrily inwardly to his subconscious. As seen in Oedipus Rex, the realisation of a truth is very painful process and often brings out strong emotions such as anger. Usually the truth is presented to a character in small increments so as not to overwhelm the character. Thus, the anger displayed by Lear is a reflection of the pain he feels from his daughter's betrayal.

The contrary of this is found in the second passage. In this scene the audience is shown humble Lear. When he says "Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son / Was kinder to his father than my daughters / Got 'tween the lawful sheets. / To't luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers." (IV.vi.110-114). This supports that Lear is much humbler. As seen in the first excerpt, Lear command...


... middle of paper ...


...ence to better understand the nature of Lear; That is, what is going on inside him.

Through these two passages, one can see the changes in Lear's language and the imagery he conveys about nature. These changes are a representation of Lear's transformation from a sane man, blinded of the truth, to a madman, closer to the truth than any sane man. This study supports that Lear's character has made a significant advance in his journey towards the truth.

Works Cited

Clemen, Wolfgang. The Development of Shakespeare's Imagery. New York, NY, USA:
Methuen & Co. 1977.

Shakespeare. "King Lear." Elements of Literature. Ed. Robert Scholes, Nancy Comley, Carl H. Klaus, and David Staines. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Young, David. Shakespeare's Tragedies - A Collection of Critical Essays.
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1993.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Strong Essays
1567 words (4.5 pages)

King Lear as a Changed Character at the End of Shakespeare's Play Essay

- King Lear as a Changed Character at the End of Shakespeare's Play Works Cited Missing King Lear was written in 1605-1606, the exact date is unknown. It was performed at the Globe theatre on 26 December 1606 and was first published in 1608. The play was written by William Shakespeare who has written 37 other plays for Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences. William Shakespeare wrote the play for King James 1. King James had sons in mind as heirs and not daughters and he might have thought it foolish and stupid to have daughters as heir to the throne as it is in king Lear....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
866 words (2.5 pages)

The Consequences of King Lear's Failed Love Contest in the Play by William Shakespeare

- Lear’s lack of self-knowledge in the beginning of the play is of devastating consequences. In the first scene we see the strongest statement reflecting a lack of self-knowledge. In order to divide up his kingdom, with the biggest piece in the middle of it going to Cordelia, with her husband to be. King Lear thinks of a sophisticated plan. He arranges a public ‘contest of love’ between his daughters, and whomever declares to loves him most, gets the most land. Thinking, his favourite daughter Cordelia will declare to love him the most....   [tags: self-knowledge, land, support]

Strong Essays
645 words (1.8 pages)

Shakespeare’s Use of Language in His Play, King Lear Essay

- William Shakespeare is an outstanding pioneer of the English language in Early Modern English period between 1500 and 1700. Undeniably, he made a great contribution to the development of English language. His contribution is strongly related to Elizabethan English (Knowles, 1997). His literary works could reflect his language features and Early Modern English characteristics. King Lear selected in this essay is one of his famous tragedies. It was written by him between 1603 and 1608. This play revolves around king Lear and his three daughters....   [tags: linguistics, pronouns, syntax]

Strong Essays
2282 words (6.5 pages)

Overview of Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- Shakespeare's play, King Lear, tells a tale of misshapen oath through a series of betrayals and treason. When one is too deeply in love with his or her own world, he or she tends not to hear, purposefully, of the advice given by any other, if the given information is not to his liking. Such ignorant engrossment in one's illusions brought out a theme that a man's benighted misconceptions can lead to the ruination of his or her once unblemished world. In the play, Lear lived a cavernous life as the King, sheltered by his own powers, wealth, and status....   [tags: Play Analysis, Reality]

Strong Essays
1110 words (3.2 pages)

King Lear as a Tragic Herp Essay

- The play of King Lear is a tragedy like many of Shakespeare’s plays, and many of them deal with the tragic hero that end up meeting their demise thanks to their tragic flaw. The tragic hero of this play is King Lear, and he is a man that is a ruler of the kingdom of Britain in the 8th century B.C. He is a very old man surrounded by grave responsibilities, which are taking care of the land and taking care of the citizens of the kingdom. Lear the tragic hero must feel suffering and contrast those good times to the suffering, except his suffering leads to chaos and ultimately his death....   [tags: Shakespeare, Play Analysis]

Strong Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- Shakespeare's King Lear is known as one of his greatest tragedies. The story is full of misfortune, deception and death. The story also contains two plots, a main plot with King Lear, and a subplot with a character referred to as Gloucester. The main plot and subplot in King Lear may have minor differences but the two main characters of each plot share the same fundamental theme of blindness. The theme of a story is the main subject or idea the author is trying to get across. In King Lear there are quite a few themes....   [tags: Play Analysis, Tragedy, Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1483 words (4.2 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]

Strong Essays
3490 words (10 pages)

Essay on Madness in William Shakespeare's King Lear

- Madness in William Shakespeare's King Lear                          In his play, King Lear, Shakespeare introduces many themes.  The most important theme is that of madness, which is portrayed, during the course of this play, by the tragic hero, King Lear.  Though Lear shows great egotism at the beginning of the play, he actually begins to show signs of madness in Acts 3 and 4. In these acts, King Lear is shown spiraling into madness and then eventually regaining his sanity.  Shakespeare develops his madness theme through several phases.  In the first phase, Lear's madness is shown through his strange conversations and the tearing off of his garments; in the second phase, Lear is shown em...   [tags: King Lear essays Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

Imprisonment in Shakespeare's King Lear Essay

- Imprisonment in King Lear      In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the idea of imprisonment is fundamental to the plot and central ideas. All characters are imprisoned, whether it is physically, socially or psychologically. Each character suffers 'imprisonment' in some form.   King Lear is one of the more caged characters of the play, he suffers both social and psychological incarceration and this is one the chief reasons for his descent into mental hell and inevitable downfall....   [tags: King Lear essays]

Strong Essays
1430 words (4.1 pages)