King Lear by William Shakespeare: One of the Greatest Tragic Plays

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King Lear by William Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest tragic plays ever written. We see heroes die left and right for what is “right”, we see the bad guys come to their demise and, in the end, we are left with Edgar of Gloucester. Edgar, throughout the play, underwent serious transformation, serious rough times, serious agony and true self-discovery, going from naïve heir to bold champion and because of that, he can fill Lear's shoes. The average playgoer would say this with ease: the death of the old royals and Edgar's arrival is pure consolation. Britain can thrive with Edgar in power. This essay will prove the exact opposite. Britain will not get better because of cowardice, lack of dependability and the fact the old King's shoes aren’t so big to begin with.

King Lear’s inciting incident is Lear disowning his youngest and most-loving daughter Cordelia and leaving the kingdom to his older daughters, Regan and Goneril. Regan and Goneril show their true colours very soon after being given Cordelia’s land and are pinned as villains instantly. Everything is believed to go downhill from there. As the play goes on, the now divided courts are only seen in the mist of trouble and it is Regan and Goneril’s fault. The problem with leaving that point there is it is clear you cannot. Firstly, how can Regan and Goneril be so evil when Lear is good? Secondly, was the court in good shape when Regan and Goneril came in to rule? In Act I, there is much talk of the former king being hasty, short-tempered and frivolous. Examples of this throughout the play: he refuses to give up his retinue of one hundred knights, curses Goneril with infertility when she fires the knights herself and he fires servant Kent for simply disagreeing with him. This is not a stable leader. We also see the Earl of Gloucester (a part of Lear’s team and the future king’s father) brag about having a bastard son. It is clear these men are not good influences. In fact, Lear says in Act 2...
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