Describe King Lear and the Elizabethan Era

Topics: Monarchy, William Shakespeare, Sovereignty Pages: 2 (721 words) Published: April 13, 2013
King Lear was a supposedly one of the first monarchs in prehistoric Britain. He had come down to Shakespeare's time as a Figure of myth and folklore. King Lear knew to divide sovereign power would be to undermine the peace of the commonwealth and to infringe the biblical precept that no one should serve two masters. (Bossulet qtd in) Sommerville 350) Although such an act would have been considered illegal at the time and Queen Elizabeth asks her advisors if she can give away some of her land (Foakes 17) They told her that land is not personal property to give away, but land is by a formal letter sealed with the monarchs patent (Foakes). In other words, the monarch is limited and must ask for permission before distributing land. Elizabeth is obviously not an absolute monarch and will never be. In King Lear, land and power are divided and given away, without the king having to seek counsel. Most importantly, under Shakespeare’s worldview, kings are divinely appointed, chosen by God. That makes kingship a charge that Lear does not have the right to lay down, To believe that he can divest himself of what he was divinely invested with is arrogance that involves placing himself above God, which is sort of the very definition of hubris.

Lear does not represent that of wisdom of a king, as a father, as a leader, as a friend. It is unnatural for a King to retire his crown to divide his country, to basically retire his Divine. Right Monarchy. It is also unnatural for an old man to not attain wisdom with age; King Lear does not possess wisdom until he loses his mind. It is the nature, also of daughters to love loving fathers. Everything that should come “naturally” seems to be reversed in this play, and I suspect that Shakespeare perhaps is suggesting that the unnatural is truly natural.

Here the images of nature can be referred to the decaying mind of Lear. His mind and feeling hurt by his daughter is mixed up like the weather. The state of his kingdom is also in a...
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