Ageism in king Lear

Topics: Old age, King Lear, Edward Bond Pages: 2 (641 words) Published: December 5, 2013
David Bajic
Miss O’Hearn
ENG-4UI-02
21 November 2013
Discrimination of the King Himself
Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide, in cities mutinies, in countries discord, in palaces treason, and the bond cracked ’twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there’s son against father. (1.2 106-11)

Gloucester observes disastrous events occurring in the play, most notably the ones occurring in the kingdom. He notes that love can never last, friendships eventually break up, and brothers become enemies which eventually leads to chaotic behavior. Ultimately, these malicious acts break out into devastating events such as civil wars, the bond breaking between father and son, and lastly the betrayal of King Lear and his noble power. In addition to all of these spiteful acts, it is evident that ageism is also portrayed in the play about the King himself, especially at the end of scene one. The first sign of how ageism begins in the first act is King Lear’s debatable decision to divide up the kingdom between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Eventually, Lear’s unwise decision causes chaos and havoc throughout the family, leading to multiple conflicts such as the banishment of Cordelia and the insulting comments about Lear’s old age and judgement. One example of how ageism is portrayed in the conversation between Goneril and Regan is when they discuss King Lear’s poor judgement.  While Regan and Goneril discuss what they should do about their foolish old father, Goneril says, “You see how full of changes his age is. The observation we have made of it hath not been little. He always loved our sister most, and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears too grossly” (1.1.290-93). This quote demonstrates that with age, Lear’s judgement is questionable because he is acting in a very thoughtless way by doing things like disowning his favourite daughter, Cordelia. Goneril and Regan continue to speak about...
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