King Lear Essay

Topics: William Shakespeare, King Lear, Destiny Pages: 3 (1136 words) Published: November 19, 2011
King Lear Essay:
Justify your personal view of why Shakespearean drama is part of the English syllabus. The study of literature, through any medium, is done to further improve a student’s understanding of the values that were prevalent during the context of that era. The works of William Shakespeare explore universal concerns that affect all and therefore his works remain timeless. Shakespeare’s characters all displays the basic faults and follies within human nature. Through the plays such as ‘King Lear’, students can gain an understanding of how a monarch, who abuses his power, can be forced to question fate and destiny, suffer at the hands of people, and then gain redemption through an acceptance of his mistakes. King Lear questions the power of leaders, which still applies to our modern context. From our western democratic perspective we no longer subscribe to the belief in absolute power. However in Shakespearean times, it was accepted that that the King ruled by Divine Right. The absolute monarch ruled in a time of strong patriarchal values and a rigid social structure, what was seen as natural order. King Lear reflects the absolute authority of the monarch through the division of his kingdom. Metaphorically this is shown through the division of his own crown- “beloved sons…this coronet part between you”. This action alone is outside the social expectations, where men did not consider pass their wealth or power until they died. The King’s authority is paramount is shown through the personification of Lear’s nature as stated- “come not between the dragon and his wrath”, when Kent tries to oppose his decision to banish his daughter, Cordelia. A ruler, particularly one with absolute power, must be wise, a trait that King Lear does not possess. Lear is blind to people’s true character he sees things in superficial terms. The repetition used in the line “nothing will come of nothing”, and continually thereafter in the play demonstrates the superficiality...
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