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

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

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King Lear as a Changed Character at the End of Shakespeare's Play
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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. King Lear was written for the Jacobean audience.

There are two plots in King Lear, both plots are not linked at the
beginning but they link at the end when the characters in the two
plots get together. The two plots are the main plot and the sub plot.
The main plot is about Lear's madness and the sub plot is about
Gloucester, Edmund and Edgar the bastard. Edmund writes a letter that
he pretends is from his brother about how he wants all his fathers
money. He writes the letter because he wants his father to think he is
better than his brother and he wants all the money. He also wants his
father to fight and break up with his brother.

In Act1 Scene1 the 'love test' takes place. This is when Lear wants
his three daughters to confess who loves him the most to claim there
share of kingdom. Lear wanted to split his kingdom between his three
daughters. He expected himself to still be king but his daughters to
rule the kingdom whilst he does nothing. Lear knew his youngest
daughter Cordelia, who is kind, honest and sometimes naïve, was his
favourite and Cordelia loved Lear the most but he still wanted a love
test in which Cordelia says:

"I love you majesty according to my bond, no more nor less" (Cordelia)

Lear banishes Cordelia from the kingdom because he is vain and
selfish. He expects Cordelia to say the same as his other two

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daughters if she had nothing better to say. Lear's eldest daughter
Goneril, who is royal, autocrat and powerful, says

'Sir I love you more than word can wield the matter, dear than
eyesight, liberty and space.' (Goneril)

Lear is flattered by this. Lear's second daughter says she loves her
more than Goneril she says this to get a bigger piece of land than
Goneril.

Lear believes everything his daughters say so this shows he likes
people complimenting about him. Shakespeare tries to make the audience
realize how much power Lear had and how he's throwing it away in a
matter of time. So in the first scene it shows that Lear is
self-centred and thinks only about himself. Lear cannot face up to the
truth about what Cordelia says and so banishes her this shows that
Lear is blind and cannot see what is true and what are lies. Lear then
banishes Kent because he was trying to explain what Cordelia said was
true. Lear also uses the royal "WE" all kings and queens use it but
Lear uses it to show of his importance. Lear liked to be seen as a
powerful king by repeatedly using WE. Lear throws away the good and
keeps the evil who are Goneril and Regan. This scene introduces the
theme about the relationship of a parent and child. It also shows that
King Lear has created a downfall for himself. Lear is also stubborn
and bad-tempered we know this because the way he talks to Kent when
Kent tries to stick up for Cordelia.

"Come not between the dragon and his wrath'' (Lear)

After the love test Goneril and Regan talk about Lear and they
themselves say that his age has changed him. Lear thinks his daughters
love him whilst they are the ones who plot against him. :

"You see how full of changes his age is, the observation we have made
of it hath not been little; he always lov'd our sister most, and with
what poor judgement he hath cast her off, appears too grossly."(Goneril)

In act3 scene4 his downfall starts. In this scene Lear goes mad and he
is locked out in the storm so this shows us that he has changed from
the powerful king, in a castle to just a poor man in the storm. He
treats Edgar like his own son. We know he is a mad man because he
tears of his clothes in the storm because he wants to be cleansed of
the evil. He refuses to take shelter from the storm here we know he is
a bit crazy and mad because no one goes out in a storm naked.
Shakespeare uses this scene to add detail to Lear's mental behaviour.
There is a lot of irony in this scene, king Lear rips of his clothes
to look like Edgar who is also stark naked. He calls tom 'a learned
philosopher' as he is the true nature of mankind.

In this scene Lear is mad and has lost all his pride he had in the
first scene. Lear asks Kent whether he's going to break his heart to.
This shows he is mad because he thinks everyone will break his heart
just like his daughters did. In the storm Lear noticeably changes.
Lear realises he has lost his power and says he is weak and unloved.

"Here I stand your slave. A poor infirm, weak and despised old
man"(Lear)

In act5 scene3 Lear shows he was wrong to banish Cordelia from the
kingdom. In this scene everything falls apart for Lear.

"Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish" (Lear)

Here he asks for forgiveness to his daughter Cordelia. He accepts his
guilt and loves Cordelia for what she is.

"If you have poison for me, I will drink it" (Lear)

Lear admits he was wrong, Cordelia almost certainly knew that, but
Lear then goes on blaming Goneril and Regan for his downfall. Lear
changes in more than one way but he still has his pride at the end
because he goes on blaming Goneril and Regan without realising the
part he played, he started it all. Lear knows it was his fault but
doesn't want to admit it.

"I know you do not love me, for your sisters have, as I do remember,
done me wrong" (Lear)

In this last scene Lear shows a few changes but mostly he is the same
King Lear he was in the first scene. He changes because he asks
Cordelia for forgiveness but is the same because he doesn't blame
himself for everything that happened but blames Goneril and Regan.

In conclusion I think king Lear is a changed character by the end of
the play because at the beginning of the play he was proud, selfish
and thought only about himself. He didn't want to listen to anyone but
himself. But coming to the end of the play he knew it was wrong to
banish Cordelia from the kingdom and so went to her and asked for
forgiveness. He was also depressed at the end because Cordelia dies;
he loses his wealth, power and his three daughters.
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