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King Lear

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William Shakespeare tragedy, “King Lear”, was written in Jacobean times (1606) yet set in an ancient Britain approximately 750 years earlier. It conveys, through Shakespeare stagecraft and dramatic language, how the intense relationships which emerge from a monarchical society can become confused and damaged. The eponymous King Lear and his connections with his youngest daughters, Cordelia, and court Jester, the fool, are dramatized effectively to entrance audience throughout the centuries, as this essay will now discuss.

The relationship of King Lear and Cordelia has been a strong one, in this play this is the most intense filial relationship. The bond between King Lear and Cordelia can be argued to be the closest and the best. However, due the fluctuations of Lear’s Rage the bond between Cordelia and King Lear is slowly and thoroughly worn out. The play starts off with an Old King Lear ready to distribute his Kingdom, by testing the filial bond between his daughters. The flattery and over-exaggeration of Cordelia’s sisters prompts Cordelia to give a more flat and truthful response: “I love your majesty according to my bond, no more nor less.” However, this flat response enrages Lear, and hurts him coming from his favourite daughter. “Here I disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood and as a stranger to my heart and me hold thee from this forever.” This statement is from when King Lear’s expectations aren’t met and therefore his disappointment from this causes him to remove Cordelia as his daughter. The can empathise with Cordelia for disappoint parents, and King Lear for disappointing children. This scene is also very dramatic ironic as the tragedy happens because of the distribution of the kingdom.
King Lear’s rage is slowly consuming his soul, with this comes the breakdown between King Lear and Cordelia. The dowry scene is when King Lear abandons Cordelia to the King of France. The scene has a sense of dramatic irony as seen because later it is King Lear how needs Cordelia Back. King Lear’s filial connection to Cordelia has been cut, however King Lear’s rage has gone to the point where he is willing to give Cordelia away for free: “And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, she’s there, and she is yours.” The dowry scene is the turn point for Lear as he descends into madness. His relationship with Cordelia is also very rocky. King Lear’s disappointment is further made by Cordelia’s refusal to becoming an obedient princess, the one that stays at the castle all the time and listens to the King. Her refusal to become this stereotype is a major disappointment for Lear. The audience can relate when their teenage daughter or son is rebelling and not listening to the parents.
King Lear’s realisation that he was wrong was a turning point for this play. His relationship with Cordelia turns for the better as he sees her live, when she invaded. There is a role reversal, for King Lear and Cordelia. In the first scene King Lear was the “King” and Cordelia was his “peasant”. This is shown was a typical King and a typical princess. However, the role reversal near the end of the play enforces the hopeless nature of Lear, and the strong Cordelia, this filial bond can be related when the audience’s parent retire and the child is rising and shining. This turning point can also be the point when Lear realises the fact he is indeed wrong for ever hurting Cordelia and thus provide the strong filial relationship. “Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.” This was also very cathartic; the fear of what will happen to King Lear is embedded within the audience.
The Second intense relationship seen in "King Lear" is the complex and often humours connection between the monarch and his fool the court jester dressed in "motley" and "coxcomb", Shakespeare actually explorer through his representation of role-reversal and contractions how the fool is not at all foolish, while the folly of Lear is obvious. The audience is amused by the multiple images expressed by the fool: " I can tell why a snail has a house to put's heard in, not to give it away to his daughters , and leave his house without a case" is a metaphor indicating Lear has literally given his royal crown away- an act as unnaturally removing its Shell, Shakespeare through the fool develops this intense connection between ruler and subject, yet it is the subject teaching the ruler, who is obsessed with the monster ingratitude served up to him by his two elder daughter. Another natural image "the hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long , that it’s had its head bit off by it young," explorers the idea of an "imposter" in the nest and the role reversal of offspring attacking parent. Ultimately, the fool's message to his king is "thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise," a lesson both information and ironically amusing to any audience.

The complex relationship of Gonerill and Regan is hard to explain that however the blood connections are both Lear’s daughter, they are also all married, and they all shun King Lear. The character presented to the audience is cynical, and misanthropic. Gonerill and Regan are also very cynical and the relationships with each other are also very bad. However they come together to plot against King Lear. The connection between them is strong and also very bonding. The audience can understand the complex relationship between sister and sister. The rivalry of the two sister doesn’t stop with the father, they also have a rivalry with Edgar. This the audience can relate.

King Lear is a play that is set 750 years ago, with that is the transition of power. The context is shown as a cold and not a warm place. The relationships are both strong and weak, and some are filial. However King Lear is shown to be ruthless and also prone to flucations to his rage.

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