King Lear and Dementia: A Physical and Emotion Struggle
The opening scene of King Lear begins to show the unhealthy state that King Lear is in, when it portrays Lear separating his kingdom and giving it to his daughters based on how much they love him. Lear bans his most prized daughter, Cordelia from the kingdom and leaves her with nothing only because she was honest with her response, which begins to show his state of senselessness. Lear demonstrates his mental illness throughout various scenes in the play. He completely loses order of his kingdom, which goes along with losing all his powers, duties, and responsibilities as King. He finds it troubling to separate his job as a monarch and his duty as a father as his illness progresses. Lear begins to reflect on his mistakes as a monarch when he realizes his mental illness. These coincide with some major themes throughout the play.
Throughout the play, Lear’s state of dementia worsens. As his two malicious daughters rule the kingdom, and mistreat Lear, Lear regrettably begins to realize what his actions entail for him and the kingdom. He explains to Edgar and Gloucester that Goneril and Regan “say 'ay' / and 'no' to every thing that I said!--'Ay'
and 'no' / too was no good divinity” (IV. VI. 110-2). This realization that Regan and Goneril do not have Lear’s best interest at heart progresses the King’s anger for his mistakes even more. He also explains that, “O Regan, Goneril! / Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,-- / O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; / No more of that” (III. IV. 22-5). This shows that he realizes that his illness has caused him to give his kingdom to his wretched daughters and he abandoned his true, honest daughter. Now, aware of his illness, Lear begins to ponder on his actions as King. He states, “. O, I have ta'en / Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; / Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, / That thou mayst shake the superflux to them, / And show...
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