Suffering in Shakespeare's King Lear

Suffering in Shakespeare's King Lear

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Suffering in King Lear


        Suffering takes on many appearances, depending on how it is received.

In King Lear, suffering was very painful to two people, and the giver wasn't

necessarily an enemy, pain can be from the ones you love.  A storm isn't

something you wouldn't think of when pain comes to mind, but it is an element

and part of your environment, so are the people one deals with.  Pain can come

from many areas, both far and near.


        The enemies in our lives are their to balance the goodness that we feel.

The world has balance and they provide it.  The pain that they furnish us comes

in many forms, mental and physical.  In Gloucester's case, physical was the main

one.  Getting your eyes gouged out must be an excruciating way to experience

pain.  The blinding of a person is not only painful, but demeaning and

tormenting as well.  Imagine being blinded and having to experience the world

all over again.  The frustration of depending on other people and learning how

to navigate your surroundings, with all the grace of a child.  This kind of

suffering could lead to suicide, and it would have, except Gloucester was blind

and couldn't see that there was no cliff to throw himself off of.  His enemies

didn't want to kill him, but they already did, internally.


        The internal death is the final stage of mental suffering, but there are

many stages before the one must go through to get to that last stage.  Many of

these stages are shown in King Lear, as he breaks down from a powerful man to a

crazy derelict, all because of someone close to him, that he trusted, stabbed

him in the back.  The family is part of your environment and so is the weather.

A storm can be a gusting hurricane or a conflict with your sister.  Both

conflicts cause damage, and the damage may or may not be repairable.  In the

case of King Lear, his mental state diminished rather badly.  He was seeing

small rodents on his arm and even a elaborate courtroom scene, all in his head.

The pain of falling down from grace and having your own children disown you and

refuse you love you was too much for old King Lear.

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