King Lear Character Analysis

Topics: King Lear, William Shakespeare, Virtue Pages: 4 (1469 words) Published: July 9, 2008
Character Analysis
King Lear-
King Lear is first presented in the first scene as an egocentric man who is ignorant of the many flaws in his personality. Lear has formed himself a personality and defined himself as an individual and utterly refuses to give up this vision of himself, one can only imagine the figure that Lear must have once been considering the absolute dominance and control that he exerts over the others around him. As is revealed in the first act, Lear is drastically unrealistic about what is to happen to him during and after relinquishing the throne, and as the result of this great misunderstanding he banishes his loving daughter, Cordelia, leaving only his unloving, and eventually evil daughters, Goneril and Regan, to care for him. The fact that Lear requires his daughters to express how they love him in words, and his irrational reaction to Cordelia’s response, shows that King Lear needs to feel that he is loved to remain mentally stable. In Act 2, Lear discovers his great folly as his daughters both remove him from their homes because of his untactful ignorance as to what a disturbance he is causing in both of their homes. Lear finds it incomprehensible that he no longer holds any wealth, authority and political stature, and struggles to maintain his sanity until it eventually breaks loose and Lear flees into the storm on the heath. On the heath, Lear struggles do accept the idea that he is now a weak, old man with no authority; a conflicting view compared to the one that he once had of himself. As Lear falls into madness, his actions start to show more and more of his fury and grief at his Machiavellian daughters and at his own mistake of disowning his only loving daughter, Cordelia. It may be said that only once Lear went mad could he clearly see that of which is happening around him. When Lear eventually comes out of his apparently insane state, the audience is confronted with a completely transformed personality, in which Lear has...
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