King Lear

Topics: Gender role, Gender, King Lear Pages: 6 (2054 words) Published: December 12, 2012
No mater in what time, female never stop trying and demanding for the equality as male. Some believes of feminism first introduced in “the theory of feminism”. When female turn against male by challenging their authorities and harm male-dominated society, hatred between two genders unluckily grow stronger, and therefore cost the characters' tragic downfall. The feminist lens is reflected in King Lear's three daughters, as they fight for authority and love. The stereotype guide women as weak, emotional, taking order and serve men, while men should be strong, fearless, and powerful enough to control over women. Nevertheless, through out the play, Shakespeare shows his audiences the opposite side of traditional stereotype. Female and male characters in the play slickly switch their traditional gender role. Female characters such as Goneril and Regan are selfish enough to exchange authority and love with family happiness and feelings. Love as a form of female's live, it is implacable, but it also consider as a “bad faith” for women. Because it produces jealousy, and transforms to poison, this drives them crazy and violent. Goneril and Regan fight for Edmund, which lead them to death, and forget about traditional gender roles. They are the most power of the kingdom, but Lear now becomes their servant. It is shameful, whether as a male in a male – dominated society, or as a father, the patriarchy ( the historical central problem) is challenged by women. When he faced with challenges from women' rebellion, and the inability to find a solution to these conflicts, it resulted with the rejection and condemnation of women. Shakespeare’s time, the male being the dominant part of society and the change brought upon by the rise of women and feminist ideas.

Stereotype of women is usually described as weak, emotional, and mostly depending on men. It is a way to support men's thought that they are better than women. However in Elizabethan time, women could not agree with that title any longer, and as in result, women start to look for freedom and power. This social issue is in fact included in King Lear by Shakespeare. Divisions of the kingdom provides a perfect time for them to gain power. Women are emotional, this is unarguable. However, men sometimes forget that it is also used as a dangerous weapon. This is true in the play due to Goneril and Regan's betrayal. In order to exchange of getting the kingdom and territory, they are fearless to do everything that king had told. “Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter;

Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;

Beyond all manner of so much I love you.” (King Lear, AISI 54-60) Goneril turns out loves him none, only his richness and authority attract her to lie. Nevertheless, Lear cannot see clear, but it is too late to find out the brutal truth after give on his authority. Lear is shocked: “Man’s life is cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady;

If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.

But this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
Or ere I'll weep. O Fool! I shall go mad.” (King Lear, A2S4, line264-283) Women’s stereotype of weakness and emotional fool Lear around, it is an unacceptable lie to him. Women are full of ambition and vicious now in his eyes. Women ready to independent from men, because of higher level of learning process, higher standard of living, or as Shakespeare shows in the play: power. Power brings joy, happiness, and wealth, this is based on most of people’s believes. Goneril and Regan understand it better than anyone else, therefore, they grow independent.

Base on the conception of patriarchy, men in society has an absolute advantage and voice. Father is the rule for children, and therefore children (especially female) have no freedom to decide their marriage. It is...
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