Deception in Shakespeare's King Lear

Topics: King Lear, William Shakespeare, Edmund Pages: 4 (1216 words) Published: March 18, 2011
Using detailed supporting evidence, discuss the significance in the play of ONE of the following. Deception.

William Shakespeare's 'King Lear' is a tragic play of filial conflict, deception and loss. Characters Lear and Gloucester shape the story line due to their lack of insight which their children take adavantage of. These are the antagonists who decieve their fathers, to gain more power and status. Deception usually has negative connotations and one would expect the characters who use it to be antagonists. Shakespeare challenges the norm by showing that the protagonists such as Edgar and Kent, who have insight, also need to decieve to survive.

King Lear is easily decieved as he lacks the insight to see beyond what people say. He only takes things at face value and blatanly flaunts his lack of insight through his rash actions and bad decisions. The play begins with Lear demanding words of praise. His evil daughters Goneril and Regan realise this as his fatal flaw, he has too much pride. He reveals his lack of insight when he divides the Kingdom " publish our daughters several dowers so that future strife may be prevented now". Lear does not have the insight to realise that with daughters such as Goneril and Regan strife will always follow and that giving them his Kingdom would only lear to his downfall. Goneril and Regan use his flaws against him, by decieving him with their words. They blatantly lie when professing their love for him, but he takes their words as absolute truth. Regan even professes she is "an enemy to all other joys" suggesting she loves not even her husband as much as she loves her father. She realises and uses his lack of insight to decieve him into believing her lies.

Cordelia, Lear's youngest daughter claims she cannot "heave her heart into her mouth". She is banished by Lear for saying that she only loves him "according to her bond". She is being completely honest and refuses to decieve her father. Even though she possesses...
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