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King Lear Essay

By bricopeland Dec 20, 2012 691 Words
Brianna Copeland

King Lear and his Downfall

In the book, King Lear by William Shakespeare a common theme is tragedy. As King Lear goes mad, the book become more and more tragic. Authors use the demise of characters, such as that of King Lear, to show the view of the world from one person’s point of view and King Lear, who was duped by the false love his daughters showed, lead to the demise of his kingdom.

The story begins with King Lear dividing his kingdom amongst his three precious daughters. In order to receive their share of the kingdom, Lear asks them to profess their love for him. While two of his daughters, Goneril and Regan, shower him with compliments, his third daughter, Cordelia, does not. This drives King Lear mad for he feelsd he does not have the love of his third daughter. This is the beginning of the tragedy because King Lear thinks he does not have the love of his daughter. He states, “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.” (Act 1, Scene 1) He is unaware that by disowning Cordelia that he is dooming his empire because she is the only one of the three that would handle it with care and do as the king pleases.

King Lear soon realizes that Goneril and Regan are not fit to run his kingdom. What makes it pejorative is that they are constantly disrespecting his authority and demeaning him, and slowly stripping him of his power. King Lear eventually recognizes that they are doing this and exclaims, “You think I’ll weep. No, I’ll not weep. I have full cause of weeping, but this heart shall break into a hundred flaws or ere I’ll weep- O Fool, I shall go mad!” (Act 2, Scene 4) And mad he went. As Lear has an epiphany that his daughters deceived him and do not love him as much as they claimed, his heart breaks and he goes a bit crazy. As he slowly realizes the corruption of his relationships with Goneril and Regan, the people whom he trusted his empire with he goes more and more mad. As the madness continues he holds a mock trial against them and with all his insanity and all his anger he proclaims, “Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?” (Act 3, Scene 6) King Lear says this about Regan stating that she is a cruel and heartless woman. He comes to the conclusion that perhaps he put his kingdom into the wrong hands, thus sentencing it to fall.

His madness continues, as well as his hatred for his daughters. Once he is reunited with Cordelia he realizes the mistake he had made. He exclaims, “Pray you now, forget and forgive. I am old and foolish.” (Act 4, Scene 7) Since Coredlia’s love for her father is so strong and so true she forgives him without hesitation. However, it is too late to give her the kingdom; it is coming to an end. It is too late to give Lear his knights back; they have all been fired. For King Lear has no power anymore and is not really a king anymore. He has lost his power to his most evil and deceiving daughters. Soon after he finds Cordelia, he loses her once again. Yet, this time he has lost her daughter for good. In a short time all of his daughters are dead, and there are no heirs to his thrown. This brings King Lear back to square one, with all the power in his hands, and he does not know what to do with it. However the death of his beloved Cordelia breaks the last bit of his heart, and also takes away the last bit of sanity he possessed. His madness overcomes him and he passes, along with his kingdom.

The death of King Lear lead to the downfall of his kingdom, and his insanity. His death was tragic however it finally ended his sorrow and his pain.

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