King Lear - Power Corrupts

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Power is the ability to manipulate and control whatever one desires; to do what one pleases to do without answering to authority. The power that corrupts the characters plays an extensive role throughout Shakespeare's play, King Lear. Goneril and Regan are corrupted by the power that Lear offers them. Edmund's corruption comes from the trust of his father. Absolute power corrupts absolutely with the characters, because once have full control, they are so cold that they will do anything to keep the power – or to gain more. The quest for power corrupts, but when absolute power is attained, treachery and deceit is the only path to take.

The power that Lear gives to Goneril and Regan makes them treacherous and deceitful. Lear offers his land to his daughters – Goneril and Regan – but in return they must profess their love for him: "which of you shall we say doth love us most, that we our largest bounty may extend." (1, 1, 56-57) By doing this, Lear gives an opportunity for his daughters to take advantage of him. Goneril "loves [him] more than words can wield the matter' (1, 1, 60) and the same goes for Regan saying, "[Goneril] comes too short, that [she] profess [herself] an enemy of all other joys." (1, 1, 79-80) They don't really love Lear, but instead they love the power that Lear gives them. Once Lear had given the land to his daughters, the power that they have corrupts them. When Lear needs a place to stay, the daughters are not quick to react; Goneril allows him to stay but he must "disquanty his train" (1, 4, 126). She even goes to the extent of making Oswald "slack of former services" (1, 3, 10) to Lear in an attempt to make him leave. Regan is no better, when Lear comes to her door looking for a place to stay, "the old man and's people cannot me well bestowed." (2, 4, 330-331) That if Lear wants to stay then he has to give up his followers. The power corrupts them into treacherous beings, where respect and honor for their father are less important than...
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