Redemption in King Lear

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 798
  • Published : March 18, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Redemption

What does he do to need redemption? What are his crimes?

The crimes King Lear commits against Cordelia in the first scene is what triggers a repetitive sequence of wrong actions throughout the play that Lear attempts to redeem himself further into the play. Cordelia explains why she refuses to declare her love for Lear, "You have begot me, bred me, loved me;" and vows to "return those duties back as are right fit" but that someday she will get married and will not possess the ability to give her father all her love (1.1.102-103). King Lear makes his first error here; he bases his decision on the superficial aspect of his daughters' words. He favours Regan and Goneril because their words sound nice to the ear. In actuality, though, their statements have no true feeling behind them. On the other hand, too caught up in his own pride and ego, King Lear perceives Cordelia's honest words as "pride, which she calls plainness" (1.1.137).

The second crime King Lear commits is disowning Cordelia and Kent when they didn’t deserve to be banished in the first place but later realises his mistake in doing this moral crime,though the actions of Regan and Goneril mirror the king's, in that they banish King Lear, just as he banishes Cordelia and Kent, their sin against their father is worse than his sin against Cordelia and Kent. King Lear bases his daughters' love on superficial characteristics; he banishes Kent and Cordelia his own daughter whilst clinging onto his pride, not desiring to give up the title "King" even after he has yielded his power to his daughters and their husbands

Even though he makes a mistake, King Lear eventually realizes the folly in his rash actions and does what he can to better the outcome. On the other hand, Regan and Goneril not only take away all Lear has, leaving him with nothing (whereas Lear ensures that Kent has food and Cordelia has a spouse), but they also fail to repent of their actions. In fact, they proceed to carry...
tracking img