Sanity Through Tragedy: King Lear Essay

Sanity Through Tragedy: King Lear Essay

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King Lear is the protagonist within the play, he wears the label of a successful

leader but he uses his power to project an artificial personality toward his observers.

Beneath his high class physicality, Lear struggles to maintain his confidence within

himself because he depends on the constant admiration from others to feel content

with who he is. One who leads with counterfeit beliefs and unstable values is bound

for failure. Shakespeare designed this playwright to display the tragedy of a King who

slowly goes mad, however in order to reach sanity sometimes one must go completely

out of their mind to gain the wisdom in telling the difference.

The aspect of Lear's ignorance is shown when he tests his daughters on their

amount of love for him in order to determine a legitimate way to bestow land among

them. It is in the quality of their responses that will affect the outcome of Lear's

decision, but the underlying reason for the test strikes a personal fragment of Lear

which is is hunger to feel appreciated. "Which of you shall we say doth love us most?"

(1.1.56). His approach defines that not only is he seeking reassurance as a father, but

his intentions are to receive justification that he is truly loved by having his daughters

be questioned about the matter. Valuing words before understanding a person's

actions can cause a great deal of predicaments for a leader such as King Lear, mainly

because in trusting one other's word it may bring forth the element of vulnerability and

manipulation which could lead to belief of something that may not be acted upon but

only spoken of. "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than


... middle of paper ...

... he watches his beloved daughter die in his own

arms. Instead of remaining to live among a Kingdom of heinous people and

actions he dies from heartbreak, and in his death Lear's soul has chosen to pass on for

what Cordelia represented, he wanted to die in a pure understanding of himself and a

pure heart rather than fighting to live amidst soulless creatures.

Tragedy envelopes a cleansing of insanity and takes a man with a throne and

bring him to his knees where he discovers what it means to be King. As he rises to

understanding of love, truth and honesty he reaches sanity and dies in purity of the

soul. King Lear's greatest war was the battle he won within himself, and though he

died to the surrender of Edmund, he rests in the satisfaction of himself.

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2002.

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