King Lear

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King Lear Essay Draft
Shakespeare’s plays undeniably overflow with significance, but what makes them true literary masterpieces is the frightening level to which they address human issues. The issues of order and reconciliation are greatly emphasised in the play King Lear. The importance of order and reconciliation in daily life is stressed throughout the play. The complex order of society must be maintained in order to aid the prevention of the potentially fatal consequences of the disruption of order. Shakespeare’s obsession with the disruption of order is evident in King Lear, the most obvious form being Political division which comes with horrific consequences. As King Lear announces that he has “divided in three” his kingdom the reaction of the characters along with the events that follow highlight Lear’s error. The division and chaos enlighten us to the corruption of political order not only relevant to Shakespearian politics but also to the corruption of modern society. Repetition reinforces the idea of division and banishment as the play proceeds. Cosmic order and feelings of fear and uncertainty are mirrored in the powerful motif and moving imagery of the storm in Act III. Lear describes his might and power through the metaphor of the “dragon” which provides a clear understanding of his hubris and arrogance. Throughout the play King Lear is stripped of his authority and is pulled downwards in the chain of being. This sudden change in hierarchy leads Lear to question “Is man no more than this?” the impact of the rhetorical question compels the audience to contemplate the order of nature and humanity’s place among it. It allows the audience to contemplate what humanity would become without status, power and material possessions or if civilisation were to be completely eliminated. It challenges the notion that humans possess qualities that separate us from animals. The ability of reason separates humans from beasts and provides a form of redemption when...
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