King Lear

Topics: Literary criticism, King Lear, Chaos theory Pages: 5 (1680 words) Published: June 19, 2012
Person #1: In order to fully understand the play King Lear you must understand the topic of Chaos and Order. Chaos is a condition or place of great disorder or confusion, and order is the opposite and in the play is the established system of social organization. Now that you know the general definitions and ideas of chaos and order it will be easier for you to understand situations in the play where this topic is presented.

Person #2: For example throughout the play chaos and order are presented through the use of the chain of being. As you know the chain of being is the natural order of people from top to bottom starting at the top would be the King and at the bottom would be peasants. As the play progresses the chain of being is disrupted and this creates Chaos.

Person #1: At the start of the play Lear is the most powerful because he is king and at this point there is order because everyone is in their proper places, but as the play continues new people take his power and he is shoved to the bottom of the chain and then this creates chaos. By the end order is beginning to be restored because a new king is going to be chosen and the chain will be restored. T-Chart

Person #2: This T-Chart shows examples of Chaos and Order in the play to help you further understand the theme. The first example would be when King Lear is dividing his kingdom at the beginning of the play. This shows chaos because a king is not supposed to have his kingdom divided until death. Another example would be Edmund’s plot against Edgar. Edmund wants to betray his father, Gloucester, by tricking him into believing Edgar is going to kill him. He does this so that he can get the higher title as he is a bastard child, creating a chaos within the family. Person #1: The play is also in chaos when Lear banishes Kent for going against him and when he marries off Cordelia for not wanting to tell her father how much she loves him because it is so much. With this, Lear gives his evil daughters Goneril and Regan power of the kingdom. Their corrupted behavior turns the kingdom into a downward spiral of chaos. One last example of chaos is when Lear is on the heath during the storm and he makes a realization. He realizes at that point that he is as insignificant as every other human, and therefore goes insane from his loss of authority. Person #2: As much as there is chaos in the play, there are many times when there is an attempt to get things back in order. In the end of the play, Lear and Cordelia’s relationship has a turning point. Lear is grieving Cordelia’s execution, finally seeing her love for him. Cordelia had respected the “King” as one should. Her feelings towards him are the typical orderly fashion of a king’s daughter. Lear’s realization of his respectful daughter and evil daughters put things back into order. Another example of an attempt to keep things in order is when Edgar goes into disguise to try to prevent Gloucester’s suicide on the cliff. This was done to further prevent Edmund gaining Gloucester’s title, which would put things out of order. Person #1: At the end of the play, things are finally beginning to get back into order when the only people who survive are good hearted. Edgar gets Gloucester’s title, as he was supposed to all along. A general symbol of order was the Wheel of Fortune that was referred to many times in the play. If you have power, you are at the top of the wheel. If you have no control, you are at the bottom. This represents the order of authority and how it changes in the play. One last example of order is when Lear begins to go insane. When this is occurring, Kent protects him by leading him to the heath so that he doesn’t die, which would cause more chaos in the kingdom. Quotes

Person #2: There are also many quotes that demonstrate the theme of chaos vs order. In this quote, Lear`s insanity is taking over because he feels venerable and useless with his lost of...
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