King Lear

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What part does deception of one kind or another play in Shakespeare’s King Lear? King Lear is a fictional tragedy written by William Shakespeare in 1604. The play provides a detailed description of the consequences of one man’s actions. Shakespeare displays deception as an act to cause someone to believe something that is untrue, or to mislead. There are five primary forms of deception that are displayed in King Lear: Lies, equivocations, concealments, exaggerations and understatements. Through the characters of the play, Shakespeare uses the premise of deception as a literary tool to help the audience understand the themes of the play. Shakespeare’s characters use deception as a tool to attain desired goals and material objects. Deception is manipulated to gain status and recognition, as shown through Edmund’s actions and is also employed by Goneril and Regan to achieve great power. Deception often has negative implications, thus it is commonly connected to the antagonists of the play. However, Shakespeare challenges the typical playwright and presents the audience with an uncommon feature that is the use of deception by the protagonists of the play. Evidently observed when Kent and Edgar use physical deception to display loyalty towards Lear and Gloucester. Shakespeare effectively depicts the theme of greed through Edmund’s use of deception. Edmund, bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester, uses deception to his advantage, to gain the recognition and inheritance from his father that he believes he justly deserves. Edmund’s preliminary act of deception is exhibited when he lies in order to place Gloucester under the false impression that Edgar is plotting his murder to gain land and power. Edmund cunningly deceives his father by forging a letter in his brothers hand, claiming that Edgar wishes to make Gloucester “sleep till I waked him” so he is able to “enjoy half his revenue forever.” Blind to the truth, Gloucester immediately believes Edmund “O villain......
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