How Far Do You Agree That “the Play of King Lear Presents Us with a Bleak and Cruel World and Offers Us No Comfort at the End

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How far do you agree that “The play of King Lear presents us with a bleak and cruel world and offers us no comfort at the end

Much of Shakespeare’s King Lear follows themes such as betrayal on the part of the antagonists and the protagonist’s blindness of the events which have befallen them. For example in a rage with Kent Lear exclaims ‘Out of my sight!’ with Kent’s retort simply being ‘See better Lear’ this motif of a characters blindness continues throughout the play.

Some of the characters can be seen to be prolifically cruel throughout the play and while many of the these characters die by the end of the play their actions still have ramifications. Gonerill and Regan for example strip their father of his self awareness and leave him to scrabble for his sanity on an unwelcoming and bleak heath. Lear is not exempt from blame for his circumstances but the disastrous and tragic consequences seem to out balance the flaws in his fragile mind. This is a tragedy however so Lear’s downfall as the result his hamartia was expected for the katharsis of the Jacobean audiences to be achieved. The play has a sinister atmosphere but Shakespeare may have tried to include moments of comfort either for the tension of the drama or to give the audience a sense of hope.

In Act 1 of King Lear Shakespeare seems to foreshadow the key themes of the play which often have sorrowful consequences for many of the characters. For example when Lear decides that he will test his daughter’s flattery in exchange for their share of the kingdom, ‘Which of you shall we say doth love us most, that we our largest bounty may extend’ the contest seems to be an empty gesture as Gloucester and Kent had already discussed that both dukes could already expect an equal share of England ‘for qualities are so weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice of either’s moiety’. The kings’ empty words are soon mirrored by his children’s as Gonerill remarks that ‘Sir, i love you more that...
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