King Lear's Sins

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Why do bad things happen to good people? The majority of society believes that there are no logical answers to this question. The worst can happen to the best of us, for no particular reasons. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In William Shakespeare's "King Lear", the main character, King Lear, who claims to be "a man more sinned against than sinning", is responsible for his own downfall (3.2.60-61). Though a good king, Lear's actions cause his family and kingdom to fall apart. The sins committed against King Lear are a result of his personal faults of rashness, blindness, and foolishness.

King Lear's hot temper and hasty decisions play a significant role in his fall from grace. His old age has caused him to behave impulsively, without any consideration for the consequences of his actions. When Lear asks his devoted daughter Cordelia to express her love for him, he becomes upset with her because she cannot put her feelings into words. He does not realize that she cares deeply for him and disowns her by saying, "Here I disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood, and as a stranger to my heart and me hold thee from this for ever (1.1.120-123)." It is only later, when Cordelia has left him, that Lear realizes he had made a wrong decision. In another fit of rage, Lear tries to attack Kent, his most loyal servant, for supporting Cordelia. Without considering Kent's wise words, Lear draws his sword and warns Kent not to come "between the dragon and his wrath" (1.1.130). This reckless behaviour causes Lear to lose a valued and trustworthy follower. Without a doubt, Lear's rash behaviour contributes to the suffering he endures at the hands of others.

Another folly displayed by Lear is that of blindness. He is ignorant to the true feelings and intentions of his closest family members. When Regan and Goneril shower him with false praises and declarations of their love, he egotistically believes them and bases his division...
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